500+ Airbnb Hosts Offer Free Shelter From Hurricane Florence

September 13, 2018 Updated: September 14, 2018

Airbnb is encouraging hosts to share their housing units for free to displaced neighbors and emergency relief workers affected by Hurricane Florence.

As of Sept. 13, more than 500 hosts opened their homes to evacuees for free in metropolitan areas in North Carolina (Charlotte and Greensboro), South Carolina (Columbia, Greenville and Spartanburg), Georgia (Atlanta and Augusta) and Virginia (Charlottesville).

The housing will be available until Oct. 1, and all local taxes and fees will also be waived.

Those in need of a place to stay must create an Airbnb account if they don’t have one yet, before applying for the housing.

The shelter is provided through Airbnb’s “Open Homes Program,” which started in Oct. 2012 when Hurricane Sandy damaged the U.S. East Coast. Since then, over 11,000 people who suffered from natural disasters, conflict or illness received temporary housing through this program.

Airbnb also partners with non-profit organizations to provide shelter for other people in need, and it provides guest screening and background checks, plus $1 million property damage protection for its generous hosts.

The hosts will be able to communicate directly with the non-profit representatives and the individual who will be staying at their properties. Basic amenities are expected, but the hosts can decide to help more, such as sharing a meal.

Airbnb is not the only company that has offered a helping hand. Lyft provided free rides, up to $15, for people heading to their shelter before 8 p.m. on Sept. 12.

U-Haul offered a free month of storage at 94 facilities to people who will be impacted by the heavy rains and extreme winds associated with Hurricane Florence. Families in need should contact their nearest participating U-Haul store.

“People are preparing to leave their homes, creating an immediate need for secure locations where evacuees can bring the possessions they wish to protect,” announced U-Haul president Doug Weston on the company website.

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