CCUSA, Airbnb to provide free accommodation for disaster relief personnel

August 30, 2019
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Alexandria, Va. – Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) and Airbnb announced an agreement today to provide free, short-term accommodations for disaster relief personnel deployed throughout the United States and its territories by CCUSA and Catholic Charities member agencies. The accommodations will be made available through Airbnb’s Open Homes program (Open Homes), which enables Airbnb hosts to offer their homes to people in need of emergency housing, both for individuals and families impacted by disasters and emergency relief workers that collaborate with Airbnb.

CCUSA’s disaster response team and member agency staff and volunteers mobilize quickly to aid those experiencing or recovering from disasters, and they often encounter difficulties finding shelter at or near the disaster area. The Open Homes program, with its network of hosts with available space, offers the Catholic Charities ministry a proven and reliable way to secure temporary housing wherever disasters may occur.

“Our collaboration with Airbnb Open Homes is a huge support for our disaster relief efforts, allowing personnel to do what matters most: help those in need,” said Sister Donna Markham OP, PhD, president and CEO of CCUSA. “The hosts who participate in the program provide a critical resource to their community by becoming part of the response.”

Founded in 2008, Airbnb connects hosts willing to rent their homes and other properties to travelers looking for accommodations. “The idea for the Open Homes program came from an amazing Airbnb host in 2012,” said Kellie Bentz, Airbnb head of Global Disaster Response and Relief. “After Hurricane Sandy hit New York, a host decided to offer her home free to neighbors who were forced to evacuate. Inspired by her generosity, Open Homes became an official part of Airbnb.”

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