Airbnb donates $2m to San Francisco homelessness cause

US: Airbnb is partnering with San Francisco mayor London Breed to tackle homelessness in the city.

The company has announced that it will contribute $2 million to specifically support homeless youths in San Francisco.

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said: “Shelter is a basic need, yet on any given night, nearly 1,200 young people sleep on San Francisco streets. This is our hometown, and we have a responsibility to help those young people in need of housing and job opportunities.”

The donation is part of a $5 million pledge in which Airbnb committed to fight homelessness in San Francisco back in November.

What is the Rising Up campaign?

It plans to work with lawmakers and community organisations over the next three years. The $2 million will go towards a campaign, called Rising Up, which provides housing and jobs for young people, while cloud communications company Twilio is also contributing $700,000 to the cause.

Airbnb has long divided cities across the world. While it has created an innovative way for people to travel and earn an income by renting out their homes, it has been subject to criticism for contributing to higher rents and lowering vacancy rates.

Critics of Airbnb say long-term rentals are being taken off the market by rentals, which has exacerbated problems including the city’s lack of affordable housing and homelessness.

Over the years, Airbnb has started to collect taxes to contribute to cities and cracked down on people who rent out several units illegally but illegal rentals still remain.

What is the goal of the Rising Up homelessness campaign?

Airbnb had already donated $750,000 over the last two years to local organisations working on homelessness issues in San Francisco. The objective of the latest funding to the Rising Up campaign is to reduce youth homelessness by 50 per cent by the end of 2022.

Sherilyn Adams, executive director of Larkin Street Youth Services, which is the anchor organisation of Rising Up, said the donation was “catalytic and inspiring”.

She said: “Investing in young people through Rising Up will not only save lives and change their trajectory, it will also ultimately reduce chronic homelessness in San Francisco.”

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