Airbnb launches nonprofit to provide housing in times of crisis

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FILE – This Feb. 22, 2018, file photo shows an Airbnb logo during an event in San Francisco. Airbnb was losing money even before the pandemic struck and cut its revenue by almost a third, the home-sharing company revealed in documents filed Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, ahead of a planned initial public offering of its stock. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

SAN FRANCISCO (NEWS10) – As communities around the world grapple with the devastating impacts of natural disasters and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Airbnb launched Airbnb.org — an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to providing temporary stays to people in times of crisis.

The organization focuses on emergency response and to provide stays and support to evacuees, relief workers, refugees and asylum seekers, and most recently, frontline workers fighting the spread of COVID-19.

Since 2012, hundreds of thousands of hosts across the world have offered to open up their homes and helped provide accommodations to 75,000 people in times of need.

“Airbnb.org is a testament to our community’s generosity and the power of an idea that started with one host eight years ago and has transformed into a movement of compassion and hospitality,” said Joe Gebbia, co-founder of Airbnb and Chairman of Airbnb.org. “Founding and supporting Airbnb.org allows us to double down on our efforts to help communities in need across the world in coordination with our partners, including the IFRC and CORE, to further amplify the generosity of our host community.”

Airbnb.org’s initial commitments include $2 million to support expanded partnerships with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE).

CORE will utilize Airbnb.org’s $1 million contribution to fund stays for frontline workers administering free COVID-19 tests, conducting contact tracing, providing flu shots and coordinating quarantine support resources in ten cities across the U.S. with the opportunity to launch in new cities as hotspots arise. When a vaccine becomes available, CORE will also use Airbnb.org funding to house relief workers traveling to vaccine distribution centers.

How it works

Airbnb.org will allow hosts on Airbnb to provide free and discounted stays to people impacted by emergencies, including natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic. These stays, which provide alternative accommodation and shelter options, are especially helpful to government and nonprofit partners in a year where the COVID-19 pandemic has made housing vulnerable people in traditional congregate shelters extremely challenging.

Hosts who support Airbnb.org by offering free stays or making recurring donations will receive a special badge on their profile to recognize their generosity and commitment to communities in need. 

To ensure community donations go further towards helping house people in times of crisis, Airbnb has pledged 400,000 shares of Airbnb stock to support the organization’s emergency response, natural disaster response and refugee programs.

Airbnb co-founders Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia and Nate Blecharczyk are committing $6 million to support partners and impacted communities. In addition, Airbnb will continue to provide ongoing operational support for Airbnb.org.

As a nonprofit, Airbnb.org will scale its impact and fund stays through private donations from individuals and institutions. All funds raised through Airbnb.org will go towards covering the cost of stays for those in need. 

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