airbnb, covid-19

By: Nick Gambino

While this recent coronavirus pandemic leaves little to be cheery about, seeing humanity shine through the dark clouds has been heartening. With individuals and companies stepping up with selfless acts to helps others, it shows we’re more united by common decency than stark fear.

Another company stepping up and doing the right thing is Airbnb. The short-term home rental company is asking hosts to provide free or subsidized housing to healthcare workers on the front lines of COVID-19.

With hospitals in numerous countries, including the U.S., being overloaded with coronavirus cases, healthcare workers are working long hours in dangerous situations. They need all the help they can get, and that includes housing.

“Today, Airbnb is announcing a new global initiative to help connect those responding to the COVID-19 pandemic with safe and convenient places to stay while they carry out their critical work,” a post from Airbnb announcing the initiative said. “The company’s goal is to help house 100,000 healthcare professionals, relief workers, and first responders around the world. Airbnb will waive all fees for stays arranged through this initiative.”

The program is an expansion on something that’s already in effect in France and Italy where almost 6,000 hosts have opened up their homes for free to nurses, doctors and medical staff who are battling the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s not just a willy-nilly program that has been tossed to the hosts to deal with. There’s a portal that allows hosts to opt into the program through the platform called Open Homes. Even if hosts aren’t willing or able to allow renters to stay in their homes for free, Airbnb will cover the fees.

“Medical workers and first responders are providing lifesaving support during the coronavirus outbreak and we want to help,” Joe Gebbia, Airbnb Co-Founder says. “We’ve heard from countless hosts around the world who want to provide a comforting home to heroic first responders. We are connecting our nonprofit partners, government agencies and others with our incredible host community to work together in these extraordinary times.”

Airbnb CEO, Brian Chesky announced on Twitter that as of 11:00am on Friday March 27th, hosts have opened up 20,000 homes to COVID-19 workers.

It just goes to show, though we’re apart, it’s times like these that we can truly come together.