The company has a goal of helping around 100,000 workers, and it will waive all fees associated with a stay.
“Medical workers and first responders are providing life-saving support during the coronavirus outbreak, and we want to help,” says Airbnb’s co-founder Joe Gebbia. “We’ve heard from countless hosts around the world who want to provide a comforting home to heroic first responders. We are connecting our nonprofit partners, government agencies and others with our incredible host community to work together in these extraordinary times.”
The program was started in France and Italy, and about 6,000 hosts in those countries already offered up their homes using the program. Airbnb is partnering with agencies that work with healthcare workers, and hosts can opt into the program through Airbnb’s Open Homes platform, which was created to provide emergency housing during times of crisis. Airbnb said it will still pay fees even if a host isn’t able to offer a home up for free.
The hosts will have to abide by strict safety and cleanliness standards, since the people staying have a higher exposure to the highly contagious virus.
The cleanliness protocols are modeled after Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Guidelines, and were developed by leading doctors in their fields.
“While science is still developing around COVID-19, and there is a lot we do not know, we have provided guidance to support the Airbnb community participating in immediate efforts with governments and institutions. As medical and relief workers require accommodation for response and preparedness, the Airbnb community is in a unique position to help. I applaud Airbnb for working under conditions of such uncertainty to provide housing for first responders and medical staff working in this pandemic. We are working to provide clear communication and resources, based on rapidly evolving knowledge about this novel virus and best practices on sanitation, in order to help keep communities as safe as possible,” said Dr. Larry Brilliant, a renowned epidemiologist and chair of ending pandemics.