Airbnb is testing a new service called Open Homes which will let people register their homes as volunteer shelters in the event of a disaster such as a hurricane, flood or earthquake. The service will coordinate free of charge housing for people who have been displaced from their homes or those who have traveled to an area to offer volunteer help.
The program, which is still in its pilot phase in San Jose, California, will allow hosts to sign up their homes before an emergency actually occurs, offering a more efficient and effective disaster relief system that works in partnership with city governments. Airbnb will also offer in-person training and recruitment events, a digital education campaign and emergency management teams. Throughout the rest of the year, Open Homes plans to expand to more US cities and eventually to the rest of the world.
Head over to Airbnb’s website to learn more about Open Homes and share your thoughts in the comments below. In related news, Paris is suing AirBnB for over thousands of potentially illegal listings.