Hurricane Sandy drove many New Yorkers out of their homes and, given the impending Nor’easter, at the worst possible time. Something like 20,000 to 40,000 people need somewhere to stay. Hoping to help alleviate the situation: Airbnb. Thanks to a partnership with the mayor’s office, the displaced can now turn to the site for places to stay, free of charge.
The hub for the effort is this page, which greets visitors with the guilt-trip-inducing message, “It’s time to help each other.” Anyone with a place to stay, be it spare bedroom or humble couch, can list it for free.
In a statement, the company told Betabeat:
This morning, we announced that Airbnb hosts in Hurricane Sandy–affected areas can now offer their space for free. People who require a temporary place to stay can quickly find a free space via our list of free, available housing for Sandy-affected areas. If you live close to an affected area and have an extra house, an extra room, or even a spare couch, we encourage you to sign up to help.
The page says 100-plus people have already opened their homes. That won’t put much of a dent in the housing crisis, but we suppose it’s a start.
Can we trust that the illegal-hotel hatchet is well and truly buried?