Airbnb to house flood victims in central Texas for free

Evacuee Housing program helps residents, relief workers

By Japhanie Gray - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - In the wake of the recent flooding in central Texas, Airbnb has launched its Evacuee Housing program where victims who have lost their homes to the recent disaster events will have a temporary place to stay for free.

The program is helping residents who were forced to evacuate, as well as relief workers arriving to provide assistance.

Airbnb hosts in the following Texas counties are eligible to take part in the program and list their homes for free to evacuees and emergency relief workers: Atascosa, Bandera, Bastrop, Bell, Bexar, Blanco, Bosque, Brown, Burnet, Caldwell, Coke, Coleman, Comal, Comanche, Concho, Coryell, Dimmit, Edwards, Erath, Frio, Gillespie, Gonzales, Guadalupe, Hamilton, Hays, Karnes, Kendall, Kerr, Kimbie, Kinney, La Salle, Lampasas, Llano, Mason, McCulloch, McLennan, McMullen, Medina, Menard, Mills, Real, Runnels, San Saba, Schleicher, Sutton, Tom Green, Travis, Uvalde, Val Verde, Williamson, Wilson and Zavala.

On the company's website, there are $0 listings available until Nov. 8.

Airbnb will continue to monitor the flooding and will evaluate the option to expand the territory of Open Homes listings if and where needed or as requested by local officials.

Airbnb's disaster relief program began in 2012 in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and has grown into a global disaster response initiative.

Today, the program has responded to over 205 disasters worldwide.

Background on how the Disaster Response Program works:

  • Airbnb has contacted all of its hosts within the activation zone in Texas to inform them of the Disaster Response activation and encourage them to take part in the program if they are in a position to help
  • Hosts interested in listing their properties for free are being directed to follow the link where they can opt in by clicking "Sign Up Your Home"
  • The evacuees are being directed to follow the same link where they can locate free listings within close proximity by clicking “Find Shelter”
  • The Airbnb platform then facilitates the connection between the hosts and guests
  • Those who are not currently Airbnb users are still able to take part in the program either as hosts or guests -- simply by creating a verified account on the platform
  • In addition to the free listing price, all Airbnb service fees and state/local taxes are waived
  • The hosts may decide how long they wish to list their homes for free within the program activation window (Oct. 19 - Nov. 8)

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