Airbnb recently created a disaster response tool that is designed to allow the organization to provide shelter to Hurricane Matthew evacuees who were required to leave their homes because of the storm.
Gov. Nikki Haley has declared that South Carolina is in a state of emergency. The mandatory evacuations have been difficult for some evacuees.
In emergencies, the Airbnb Disaster Response Tool allows local residents fleeing from the storm to connect with Airbnb hosts who are willing to give housing to people for free.
"This evening, Airbnb activated our Disaster Response Tool ahead of the expected impact of Hurricane Matthew in coastal South Carolina,” Airbnb spokesman Nick Shapiro said. “Through the tool, coastal evacuees who are in need of urgent accommodations are able to connect with Airbnb hosts in the greater Columbia area who are opening their homes free of charge.”
This is a crucial point of service for evacuees who may not have funds for evacuation expenses and who do not know what to expect when they return home after the storm.
"This is the first time that Airbnb is activating the Disaster Response Tool in advance of a crisis, and we hope that in doing so, the Airbnb community will come together to help those in need and ease the strain on emergency housing,” Shapiro said.