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Airbnb pilots emergency accommodation programme in San Jose

The initiative aims to encourage San Jose residents to offer their homes free of charge in the event of a disaster.

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Airbnb and the City of San Jose have launched a new Host Corps initiative to encourage San Jose residents to offer space in their homes free of charge in the event of an emergency or disaster situation, such as a flood or earthquake.

 

The partnership follows last year’s floods in San Jose which resulted in more than 14,000 evacuations.

 

San Jose is the pilot city for the new Host Corps initiative, which expands on Airbnb’s Open Homes Programme. The Open Homes Program provides free temporary accommodation, waiving all booking charges for those that sign up for the scheme. Since its launch in 2012, Open Homes has helped over 15,000 people find housing in times of need, Airbnb reports.

A city first


San Jose’s Host Corps will recruit local participants ahead of any incident, and those who wish to make their homes available in emergencies don’t have to be Airbnb hosts outside this. This is the first time that Airbnb has worked with a city to proactively recruit people before a disaster.

 

This is the first time that Airbnb has worked with a city to proactively recruit people before a disaster.

 

Airbnb and the City of San Jose are working on joint efforts to promote the initiative to residents. The partnership includes a digital campaign, in-person events, and coordination with local organisations.

 

“Every tool available”

 

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, commented: "With floods and fires becoming all-more-frequent occurrences, we must utilise every tool available to ensure we’re prepared to house residents displaced during a disaster. With the help of Airbnb’s unique platform, we’ll proactively engage the many compassionate residents in our community who are willing and able to help their neighbours in time of need."

 

Kim Rubey, Airbnb’s Global Head of Social Impact and Philanthropy, added: "Mayor Sam Liccardo and the City of San Jose are using innovative ways to solve complicated problems. Host Corps, announced in partnership with the City of San Jose, will enable communities to better respond to disasters and provide housing relief to local residents in times of need."

 

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