As Hurricane Dorian approaches the East Coast, Birmingham’s Airbnb community has opened its doors for those affected by the storm. Here is everything you need to know about Airbnb Open Homes, including how you can help.
Hurricane Dorian is a Category 4 tropical cyclone that originated in the Central Atlantic. On Monday, Dorian severely damaged the Abaco and Grand Bahama Islands before turning towards the United States. The storm is projected to hit Florida on Tuesday afternoon. With Florida in a state of emergency and the East Coast preparing for the storm, millions of residents have evacuated their homes.
“Prepare for life-threatening surge having possible extensive impacts across the coastal counties of Southeast South Carolina and Southeast Georgia.”National Weather Service
Airbnb Open Homes
When a disaster such as Hurricane Dorian strikes, many people are in need of temporary housing.
Airbnb’s Open Homes Program aids generous hosts in offering their space for free to people going through a difficult time. More than 1100 households from Miami to Nashville have opened their doors for those in need.
The Open Homes Program is not just for evacuees. For example, it offers support for disaster relief workers. Once the storm passes, these disaster relief workers will get to work rebuilding what was lost.
In addition, Open Homes offers support for its hosts
- Advanced screening and checks – While no screening system is perfect, Airbnb runs agency representatives and guests who book directly through Airbnb against regulatory, terrorist, and sanctions watchlists.
- Reimbursements for property damage – Though accidental damage is rare, the Host Guarantee will reimburse every host for property damages up to $1,000,000.
- Guest requirements and verifications – Before any stay, nonprofit staff members or evacuees must create an Airbnb account. They’ll be asked to provide details like their full name, date of birth, photo, phone number, email address and payment information.
- 24/7 phone support and resources – In addition to Airbnb’s 24/7 customer support team, you’ll have access to a specialized team for any questions about an Open Homes reservation.
How Birmingham can help
If you would like to help and have the means to provide a space for evacuees, Airbnb Open Homes is the program for you! You don’t need to have an entire house to participate in the program – an extra room in your apartment, a secondary property, or even a bed and breakfast are all eligible! You can sign up your space online using the following steps.
- Create a profile – Tell Airbnb about your space and why you want to help
- Wait for a request – You will likely get messages from non-profits or evacuees
- Get ready to host – You can agree on dates and set expectations in advance
Several Airbnb hosts in Birmingham have already chosen to participate in the program. Their rooms are available here.