Hurricane Florence is barreling toward the east coast of the United States along the southeastern seaboard, threatening to force many residents living in the path of the storm out of their homes. For those forced into the unfortunate predicament of evacuating, Airbnb hosts in safe areas are offering rooms to stay in, free of charge.
The offer is part of Airbnb’s disaster response program—specifically, its Open Homes initiative, which the company activated this week in response to the incoming storm. More than 300 Airbnb hosts are participating in the effort, opening their doors to those in need of shelter, including relief workers deployed in the area.”Your extra space can turn into a meaningful experience, not just for someone in need, but also for your community, family, and self,” the company writes on its website.
Free listings can be viewed on Airbnb’s site. There are rooms available throughout surrounding safe areas, including Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia. Hosts can continue to add their rooms through the Open Homes program through October 1, though Airbnb may extend that time frame if the storm proves to do more long term damage than expected.
For those trying to take advantage of the misfortune of others by scoring a free room from Airbnb, the company has checks in place to prevent any scamming. Any reservation reported to be made by a non-evacuee will be immediately cancelled and the guests will be made to leave the listed property immediately.
During the time the program is active, Airbnb will waive booking fees as well as the cost of a daily stay. Hosts will still have the ability to place limits on the frequency and duration of the stay for guests, so if you are seeking extended shelter, make sure the listing will allow you to stay for as long as you believe you may need.
This isn’t the first time Airbnb has asked its hosts to partake in some good Samaritan behavior for those in need. The company has offered its Open Homes program since 2012. In that time, Airbnb claims it has sheltered more than 11,000 people “displaced by natural disasters, conflict, or illness.”