If you live in the New York area and have an empty abode or even an empty bed, you might want to consider donating that bit of shelter to a survivor from Hurricane Sandy who was displaced because of the storm. Airbnb is coordinating the efforts of its users to turn the site into a place to find free temporary housing for those in need.
Usually a renter will pay for an apartment or home to stay in for a pre-deeterminded amount of days. Yesterday’s Donated Sandy Housing Program features hosts offering up their homes for absolutely nothing.
As of yesterday afternoon, CNNMoney says about 140 Airbnb users had agreed to open up their homes, spare beds or entire apartments to Sandy victims. Those interested in finding free housing options can go to airbnb.com/sandy, with the free housing options flagged with $0 prices tags. The site reads, “It’s time to help each other.”
To encourage users to find free places to stay, Airbnb is ditching its usual booking fees on those listings.
Almost 2,5000 last-minute bookings were made in the aftermath of the storm, said Airbnb, with about 900 bookings in NYC.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg is on board with the plan, calling it “great way to match New Yorkers in need with those who have something to give.”
If you’re worried that someone is just taking advantage of your generosity and not a Sandy survivor in need, the company’s spokeswoman says to communicate extensively and ask necessary questions before you come to an agreement with the potential free renters. Airbnb’s standard customer service and insurance coverage policies are in effect, adds the spokeswoman.