Airbnb launches evacuees housing programme to help Texas flood victims

Texas: In the wake of the recent flooding in central Texas, Airbnb has launched its evacuees housing programme to offer free temporary housing to those affected by the disaster.

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 programme 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.

The company’s website shows that the free listings are available in the aforementioned counties until 8 November.
Airbnb will continue to monitor the flooding and will reassess whether it should expand the territory of Open Homes listings if requested by local officials.

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

Since its establishment, the programme has responded to over 205 disasters in countries across the world.

The disaster response programme was launched as soon as Airbnb contacted its hosts within the activation zone in Texas to inform them of the disaster response activation. It also encouraged them to take part in the programme if they were in a position to help.

The hosts can then list their properties for free before being directed to a follow-on link where they can opt in by clicking ‘Sign up Your Home’. Similarly, the flooding evacuees can find nearby shelters by selecting ‘Find Shelter’ before the platform facilitates a conversation between the guests and its hosts.

Non-Airbnb users are also eligible to take part in the programme as guests or hosts but must sign up and create a verified account on the site. In addition, all Airbnb service charges and local taxes are waived so that the disaster programme remains a free service.

Finally, the hosts can decide for how long they wish to list their homes for free within the programme activation window, which ends on 8 November.