Airbnb Will Offer Free Housing for Coronavirus Responders

As health care professionals, emergency workers and relief personnel continue to work to fight the COVID-19 outbreak, Airbnb wants to give back by offering them free or subsidized housing.

Not only will this move allow medical workers to live closer to work, which can eliminate their need for public transportation, it will also allow medical workers to isolate themselves from family and roommates after working closely with infected patients.

The company wants to house 100,000 responders around the world. The mission launched last week when Airbnb worked with the French government to find 4,000 hosts willing to house doctors, nurses and caregivers for free.

“Medical workers and first responders are providing lifesaving support during the coronavirus outbreak and we want to help,” Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia said in a statement.

According to CNN, all homes and apartments donated for the program must meet standards determined by Airbnb-selected medical experts. All hosts who would like to donate their properties can visit Airbnb’s new portal designed for its new program.

“Hosts can opt into the program and have the option of opening their homes for free through Airbnb’s Open Homes platform, created in 2012 to meet the needs of people requiring emergency housing,” the company explains. “If hosts are not able to host for free, Airbnb will still waive all fees on the stay.”

With so many travelers trying to get home amid world travel bans, Airbnb has also recently expanded its “extenuating circumstances” policy, which permits guests to cancel or alter their bookings without paying a fee in the event of a natural disaster or emergency.

Other hospitality businesses are joining in, providing lodging for the people who are willing to risk their health each day to help others.

“We’ve heard from countless hosts around the world who want to provide a comforting home to heroic first responders,” said Gebbia. “We are connecting our nonprofit partners, government agencies and others with our incredible host community to work together in these extraordinary times.”

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