Airbnb announces plans to offer free accommodation to coronavirus responders

(CNN) – As the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect people all over the world, Airbnb has stepped up its plan to offer free or subsidized housing to people working on the front lines of the disease, namely healthcare professionals, rescue workers. and emergency personnel.

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

“We have heard from countless hosts around the world who want to provide a heartwarming home for heroic first responders. We are connecting our nonprofit partners, government agencies and others with our amazing host community to work together in these extraordinary times. . “

The houses and apartments made available under this program must meet a standard of cleanliness determined by medical experts selected by Airbnb.

The company’s goal is to house 100,000 of these workers around the world. Both rescuers looking for accommodation and guests who wish to make their property available can visit an Airbnb portal specially designed for this purpose.

A version of the initiative began last week in France, where the government and Airbnb worked together to find 4,000 hosts willing to let medical staff like doctors, nurses and caregivers stay for free in their homes.

This does not mean that every listing on Airbnb will immediately be up for grabs. It will always be up to each guest to decide whether they wish to donate the use of their accommodation.

“Hosts can join the program and have the option to open their homes for free through Airbnb’s Open Homes platform, established in 2012 to meet the needs of people in need of emergency housing,” the company explains, adding: “ If hosts are not able to host for free, Airbnb always waives all stay charges. “

The move came in light of the fact that many travelers were trying to return home or change their plans as the coronavirus spread around the world and many countries and municipalities introduced travel bans or quarantines.

Other hotel companies are also trying to do their part to support those affected by the coronavirus.

Many medical workers have chosen to isolate themselves from their own families and loved ones due to their increased risk of exposure to the coronavirus. Others sought accommodation closer to their place of work, eliminating the need to travel.

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