Airbnb plans to help house 100,000 COVID-19 responders

Airbnb plans to help house 100,000 COVID-19 responders
Airbnb plans to help house 100,000 COVID-19 responders

Airbnb, the popular short-stay rental platform, has launched a new program which will aim to assist 100,000 health care professionals, relief workers and first responders in accessing accommodation while in self-isolation. This opportunity will give workers who could potentially be exposed to the virus, a space away from household members which will be especially beneficial to those who are at greater risk of catching the virus, such as elderly or immune-compromised relatives. 

“Medical workers and first responders are providing lifesaving support during the coronavirus outbreak and we want to help.” 

Joe Gebbia, Co-founder of Airbnb

Since learning of the lack of clean and accessible accommodation for thousands of healthcare workers globally, Airbnb is working to locate available accommodation which is reasonably close to hospitals and medical centres.

Airbnb is also collaborating with businesses, non-profit partners and government agencies such as the International Rescue Committee, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, International Medical Corps. 

THE GLOBAL ROLL OUT OF THE INITIATIVE

The initiative has already commenced in France and Italy, with 4,000 hosts in France volunteering to open their homes to medical workers. 

With the program now launching in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, New Zealand, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom and the United States, Airbnb hopes to develop more partnerships in the coming weeks. 

HOW HOMEOWNERS CAN HELP

Homeowners have also been encouraged by Airbnb to list their homes to house doctors, nurses, caregivers and other medical support staff during this time of need. Airbnb will be waiving any hosting fees to make it easier for homeowners to provide accommodation for those in need.

HOW WILL HEALTH AND SAFETY BE UPHELD?

For those who wish to accommodate COVID-19 responders with a safe place to live during the crisis, Airbnb has created a strict set of guidelines to ensure health and safety are maintained.

Hosts must vacate the property before the arrival of COVID-19 healthcare professionals.

Hosts are expected to practice social distancing by minimising their contact with guests during check-ins, and throughout their stay. It is also advised that they avoid visiting the premises while the guest is in residence and wait at least 72 hours between reservations to clean, disinfect and prepare the space for another guest. 

The recommendations published in Airbnb’s guidelines for cleaning and safety protocols are all based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The information includes the type of cleaning supplies to use, such as diluted bleach solutions, cleaning products with 70% alcohol and disinfectants registered by the Environmental Protection Agency that are believed to be effective against the coronavirus. 

Health care professionals, relief workers and first responders who book accommodation through an NGO (non-profit organisation), government agency or health care system, will also be informed and familiar with the safety protocols they must follow. 

REQUIREMENTS OF AN AIRBNB HOST DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

By signing up for the program, hosts agree to allow guests to finish their reservation or stay for the length of time they need to self-isolate (which may mean the guest needs to extend their stay).

For people who have volunteered to provide free accommodation for health care workers, there is an option to accept or decline reservations, as well as the option withdraw from the program.

Airbnb has advised that people who choose to host a COVID-19 responder should inform their neighbours, to give them a chance to share their concerns or any considerations they may have. The company will also be working closely with local authorities and organisations, as rules surrounding emergency accommodation could vary depending on the country and state. 

AIRBNB IS AN EXAMPLE OF A COMMERCIAL BUSINESS PIVOTING THEIR STRATEGY TO SUPPORT THOSE IN NEED

First responders on the frontline of the pandemic are putting their lives at risk every day to ensure the health and safety of the citizens of their nations. It is great to see Airbnb and other accommodation services supporting those in need with initiatives that provide healthcare workers with safe and clean accommodation to help reduce stress during this uncertain period.

Shantelle-Ann Marquis

Shantelle-Ann Marquis

Shantelle-Ann is a journalist at Urban.com.au, with experience in urban planning reporting, and an interest in architecture, development and real estate.

Tags: 
COVID-19 Coronavirus Airbnb

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