Airbnb are piloting a new project in Knysna using the service to pair people who have been displaced with host homes!


The idea of hosting displaced people first came in 2012 after the Superstorm Sandy hit the US East Coast. One Airbnb user emailed the service and asked if there was a way she could offer her spare room at no charge to someone in need.

“We realized when she emailed us the idea, we didn’t have a system in place to allow volunteering of rooms for free. That’s what started a 24-hour engineering marathon to create that capability. What started as one woman’s idea, within days, became a movement of compassion and hospitality. 1,000 people offered their spare bedroom.”

Quickly the service realised that this act of kindness wasn’t linked to just one disaster, they started looking at refugees and people displaced by natural disasters all over the world.

Since 2012 Airbnb has worked with organisations across the globe in over 65 emergencies.

“Today we get to announce the hard work of many people across different teams who created something special, something to tap that communal generosity, and connect it with those who need it the most.”

Using the disaster relief tool, the Airbnb community has housed thousands of first responders and relief workers dispatched to disaster sites. The hosts’ altruism helps these courageous men and women do life-saving work where it is most essential.

“In the past, Airbnb staff worked directly with relief organizations to match refugees with hosts who had volunteered their homes. This was often a painfully slow process due to the many intermediaries involved. Our new platform allows relief organizations to connect people in need directly with Airbnb volunteer hosts, which means a faster process and fewer missed opportunities.”

In 2016 65 million people were displaced around the world, by 2044 there will be 325 million people! Airbnb plans to support their hosts in opening their doors to 100,000 displaced people over the next five years.

Airbnb have created a specific page for the Western Cape region which you can access by clicking here. All service fees are waived for those affected by the disaster.

Sources: Supplied
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Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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