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AirBnB Connecting Evacuees With Free Rooms

Shawn Bayern via Flickr

Floridians from ten counties are under mandatory evacuation orders—heading north and looking for shelter.  Nick Evans reports Air B-n-B is trying to help.

The short term rental platform Air BnB is trying to leverage its presence in North Florida to connect evacuees with open rooms.  Spokesman Ben Breit says the company is encouraging hosts to offer rooms for free over the next three weeks.

“This is about neighbors helping neighbors, putting roofs over heads,” Breit says.  “This is a time of crisis for really the entire state.  So we’re hoping this can serve as a platform to facilitate housing, and help people get through this because this is scary.”

Breit explains the voluntary program is running in the Tallahassee area and across northwest Florida.

“Anyone who’s evacuating and finds shelter via this program won’t be paying a dime,” he says.  “Now it’s up to the host how long they want to make their place available.”

Hosts can open up their rooms for whatever duration they want, and evacuees who need a place to stay can check for openings on AirBnB’s website

Breit says so far a couple dozen listings have been made available for free.  A similar program in Texas and Louisiana housed more than a thousand after Hurricane Harvey.

Nick Evans came to Tallahassee to pursue a masters in communications at Florida State University. He graduated in 2014, but not before picking up an internship at WFSU. While he worked on his degree Nick moved from intern, to part-timer, to full-time reporter. Before moving to Tallahassee, Nick lived in and around the San Francisco Bay Area for 15 years. He listens to far too many podcasts and is a die-hard 49ers football fan. When Nick’s not at work he likes to cook, play music and read.