Airbnb to help provide housing to 100,000 Covid-19 responders around the world

Airbnb announced a new global initiative to help connect those responding to the Covid-19 pandemic with safe and convenient places to stay while they carry out their critical work. The company’s goal is to help house 100,000 healthcare professionals, relief workers, and first responders around the world. Airbnb will waive all fees for stays arranged through this initiative.

“Medical workers and first responders are providing lifesaving support during the coronavirus outbreak and we want to help,” says Airbnb’s Co-founder Joe Gebbia. “We’ve heard from countless hosts around the world who want to provide a comforting home to heroic first responders. We are connecting our nonprofit partners, government agencies and others with our incredible host community to work together in these extraordinary times.”

This initiative builds on two pilot programs in Italy and France where Airbnb announced that doctors, nurses, caregivers and other medical support staff who are responding to the outbreak can access free accommodation through Airbnb. The Airbnb community has already responded to the call: nearly 6,000 hosts across both Italy and France have already offered their homes.

To enable healthcare providers and other COVID-19 responders to find housing, Airbnb will be working with businesses, nonprofits and government & emergency management agencies supporting these responders. Hosts can opt into the program and have the option of opening their homes for free through Airbnb’s Open Homes platform, created in 2012 to meet the needs of people requiring emergency housing. If hosts are not able to host for free, Airbnb will still waive all fees on the stay.

Accommodation for relief and medical workers, who have higher exposition to COVID-19, requires robust preventive practices and stringent safety standards. Airbnb takes the health and safety of its community very seriously and has worked with leading experts and officials to develop a protocol for hosts who support this collective health effort. The protocol will be updated to incorporate new requirements from local and national authorities and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We are working with experts to continuously enhance our approach, including Dr. Larry Brilliant, a renowned epidemiologist and Chair of Ending Pandemics. Dr. Brilliant will also involve several nationally recognized experts from his consultancy, Pandefense, in this effort.

“While science is still developing around COVID-19, and there is a lot we do not know, we have provided guidance to support the Airbnb community participating in immediate efforts with governments and institutions. As medical and relief workers require accommodation for response and preparedness, the Airbnb community is in a unique position to help. I applaud Airbnb for working under conditions of such uncertainty to provide housing for first responders and medical staff working in this pandemic. We are working to provide clear communication and resources, based on rapidly evolving knowledge about this novel virus and best practices on sanitation, in order to help keep communities as safe as possible,” said Larry Brilliant.

Also, Airbnb will be working with leading organizations who have already deployed thousands of relief workers to help fight the pandemic. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are coordinating their network of millions of volunteers in 192 countries to respond to the outbreak. The International Rescue Committee has launched coronavirus preparedness and response in over 40 countries, and International Medical Corps is working with its approximately 7,000 staff globally to provide medical supplies, training and triage and treatment services during the outbreak.

What's your take on this post ? Comment: