Saturday, October 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Weather

Airbnb offering free rooms in Florida, South Carolina for Hurricane Matthew

Airbnb is connecting those in need of shelter with free places to stay in Florida and South Carolina.

The vacation rental company has activated its Disaster Response Tool, which aims to connect people with free rooms offered up by Airbnb hosts who are willing to open their homes to evacuees for no charge.

In Florida, the storm has prompted mandatory evacuations in Brevard, Martin, Palm Beach, Volusia and Indian River counties, with voluntary evacuations recommended in parts of Miami-Dade, Broward, St. Lucie and Flagler.

Related: Gov. Rick Scott: 'This storm will kill you'

In a news release, Airbnb said it is still looking for hosts who are not impacted by the storm, "so that they can list their home for free and assist in sheltering those in need." New users who have never hosted through Airbnb before can also sign up through the tool.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott mentioned the service in his morning briefing on Hurricane Matthew, saying, "Partners like Airbnb are making rooms available for free. Visit Florida and Expedia also have listings of open hotels."

A search through Airbnb's Disaster Response Tool showed about a dozen rentals listed for "$0" on the website this morning. Some were for rooms within a larger home, while others listed entire private homes.

Airbnb has previously used the Disaster Response Tool to aid people who were displaced after a storm made landfall, as it did in 2012 with Hurricane Sandy, but the company said this is the first time it has activated the tool before a storm strikes.

Those interested in hosting, and those looking for shelter can visit the Disaster Response Tool at this link: abnb.co/npAG1F. 

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