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Hurricane Florence evacuees can find free lodging through Airbnb

Tarek Elshik, left, fills gas cans on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018, at the Exxon station on Western Boulevard in Raleigh, N.C. He needs to be able to fuel a generator to refrigerate insulin for his 10-year-old daughter Yasmeen Elshik's Type 1 diabetes treatment if power goes out during Hurricane Florence.

CASEY TOTH/RALEIGH NEWS & OBSERVER/TNS

By JOE MARUSAK | The Charlotte Observer | Published: September 12, 2018

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Tribune News Service) — Hurricane Florence evacuees and disaster relief workers can find free temporary lodging through Airbnb.

Airbnb hosts in the Carolinas, Georgia and Virginia are offering free stays through the online company’s Open Homes Program.

Airbnb is “an online marketplace which lets people rent out their properties or spare rooms to guests,” according to BT online.

Open Homes launched in 2012 after Hurricane Sandy and has since helped evacuees in at least 250 disasters worldwide, according to Airbnb.com.

Airbnb has contacted all of its hosts in the Atlanta, Augusta, Charlotte, Greensboro, Columbia, Greenville, Spartanburg and Charlottesville areas to “encourage them to take part in the program if they are in a position to help,” according to an Airbnb news release Tuesday.

“These $0 listings are available until October 1,” Airbnb said in its announcement.

Airbnb said it will expand the territory of hosts offering free lodging “if and where needed, or as requested by local officials.”

Hosts who want to list their properties for free should visit airbnb.com/disaster and click “I can offer my space for free”.

Airbnb has also contacted all Airbnb users in the evacuating areas to make them aware of the program if they need shelter.

Visit the same link — airbnb.com/disaster — to find free listings and click “I need a place to stay.” The Airbnb platform then connects the evacuee with the host.

Renters not already using Airbnb can still participate by creating a verified account on the platform.

All Airbnb service fees and state/local taxes are waived as part of the program, Airbnb said in its news release.

Hosts decide how long they will list their homes for free.

In another Hurricane Florence disaster relief effort, 10 U-Haul companies across the Carolinas and Virginia are offering 30 days of free self-storage and U-Box container use at 94 sites for residents about to be impacted by Florence’s rains and winds, the company said in a news release Tuesday.

©2018 The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, N.C.)
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