Airbnb activated its Open Homes Program to aid residents of the Panhandle and Northern Florida forced to evacuate from their homes in connection with Hurricane Michael, as well as relief workers arriving to provide assistance.
In the event of major emergencies like Michael, Airbnb's Disaster Response and Relief Team activates its host communities through the Open Homes program to support neighbors helping neighbors.
The Open Homes platform allows residents who have been displaced -- as well as emergency relief workers and volunteers who are coming in to assist -- to find temporary accommodations with local hosts who are opening their homes free of charge.
Airbnb hosts in the following communities are eligible to take part in the program and list their homes for free to evacuees and emergency relief workers:
o Greater Jacksonville area
o All of Central Florida (including Orange, Osceola, Polk, Brevard, Seminole, Volusia, Marion, Lake, Sumter counties)
o Greater Gainesville area
o Greater Mobile area
o Greater Montgomery area
o Greater Dothan area
o Greater Auburn/Opelika area
o Greater Savannah area
o Greater Savannah area
o Greater Columbus area
o Greater Macon area
o Greater Brunswick area (including Camden, Clinch and Wayne Counties)
These $0 listings are available from October 8, 2018 to October 29, 2018.
As the need becomes more apparent after landfall, Airbnb will continue to expand the territory of Open Homes listings if and where needed, or as requested by local officials.
The idea for Airbnb’s disaster relief program began in 2012 in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and has since grown into a global disaster response initiative that makes it easy for Airbnb hosts to provide space for people in need when disasters strike.
To date, the disaster response and relief team has responded to over 250 disasters worldwide, including most recently Hurricane Florence and Tropical Storm Gordon.
Background on how the Disaster Response Program works:
• Airbnb has contacted all of its hosts within the 3-state activation zone to inform them of the Disaster Response activation and encourage them to take part in the program if they are in a position to help
• Hosts interested in listing their properties for free are being directed to follow airbnb.com/hurricanemichael, where they can opt in by clicking “Sign Up Your Home”
• The evacuees are being directed to follow the same link -- airbnb.com/hurricanemichael -- where they can locate free listings within close proximity by clicking “Find Shelter”
• The Airbnb platform then facilitates the connection between the hosts and guests
• Those who are not currently Airbnb users are still able to take part in the program either as hosts or guests -- simply by creating a verified account on the platform
• In addition to the free listing price, all Airbnb service fees and state/local taxes are waived
• The hosts may decide how long they wish to list their homes for free within the program activation window (October 8 - 29)
As a public service, Airbnb is asking local news outlets to share the following link: airbnb.com/hurricanemichael
The current Open Homes activation area for Hurricane Michael can be found below in the picture provided.