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Airbnb Announces Tool To Shelter Disaster Victims

The emergency housing tool is designed to be up and running in 30 minutes or less.

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Today Airbnb announced a new tool to quickly connect those in need of shelter with those offering it in the aftermath of a disaster.

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The peer-to-peer lodging platform partnered with New York City and worked quickly in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy last fall to allow existing hosts and others to offer space to displaced people in the New York/New Jersey area, free of any fees. Learning from that experience, Airbnb consulted with Ideo and San Francisco’s Department of Emergency Management to build a new tool that can be activated in a scant 30 minutes anywhere in the world. They will contact existing hosts in the area to see if they can help, and provide verification, insurance protections, and a crucial platform for information exchange for those offering to help and those who need a place to stay.

Airbnb recently announced it will hire legal support to fight New York City regulators on behalf of Nigel Warren, who was recently ordered to pay $2,400 for renting his room out using Airbnb, an act the state considers a violation of its “illegal hotels law.”

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About the author

Anya Kamenetz is the author of Generation Debt (Riverhead, 2006) and DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education, (Chelsea Green, 2010). Her 2011 ebook The Edupunks’ Guide was funded by the Gates Foundation

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