When Airbnb sent out an email two weeks ago encouraging renters to offer rooms at a discounted rate to help Hurricane Sandy victims, I applauded the startup’s efforts at giving back to the community. Today, as a nor’easter heads back to the tri-state area even though some victims are still without power or have been evacuated from their homes, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced a collaboration with Airbnb, helping the startup promote the word on free housing for those who need it the most.
Whether you’re an interested renter or in need of shelter, the shortcut URL of Airbnb.com/sandy can take you to the available homes in the NYC vicinity. Every listing under the section is entirely free of charge; Airbnb makes no profit off the listings, and home seekers still have full access to filter search results by neighborhood, amenities, and room type. Luckily, as the number of rooms available decrease after bookings, more renters are offering their homes to the site. When I began this post, 179 homes were available. Last I checked, there are 205.
There’s no word from Airbnb or the mayor’s office on how long this deal lasts, but if you’re seeking shelter or know someone who is, you can find everything from a free bedroom to airbeds and couches. Whatever humble abodes renters can offer, it will sure beat the snow that’s already descended upon New York City.