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Airbnb Activates Open Homes Program for Wildfires in Utah

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Utah–Airbnb has activated its Open Homes Program to aid residents forced to evacuate from their homes in connection with the forest fires throughout Utah, as well as relief workers arriving to provide assistance. Airbnb hosts in Utah and Sanpete Counties are eligible to take part in the program and list their homes for free to evacuees and emergency relief workers.

In the event of major emergencies like these wildfires, Airbnb host communities are activated through the Open Homes program to encourage neighbors to help neighbors. During these emergencies, Airbnb coordinates closely with local authorities in response. The Open Homes platform allows residents who have been displaced — as well as emergency relief workers and volunteers who are coming in to assist — to find temporary accommodations with local hosts who are opening their homes free of charge.

These $0 listings are available through October 1.

The idea for the Open Homes program began in 2012 in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and has since grown into a global disaster response initiative that makes it easy for Airbnb hosts to provide space for people in need when disasters strike. To date, the Open Homes community has responded to over 250 disasters worldwide.

Background on how the Open Homes Program works:

Airbnb has contacted hosts within the impacted regions to inform them of the Open Homes activation and to encourage them to take part in the program if they are in a position to help

Hosts interested in temporarily listing their properties for free are being directed to follow https://www.airbnb.com/welcome/evacuees/utahwildfires where they can opt in by clicking “Sign Up Your Home”

Evacuees and emergency relief workers are asked to follow the same link — airbnb.com/disaster — where they can locate free urgent accommodations within close proximity by clicking “Find Shelter”

The Airbnb platform then facilitates the connection between the hosts and guests in need.

Utahns who are not currently Airbnb users are still able to take part in the program either as hosts or guests — simply by creating a verified account on the platform and following the program links.

In addition to the free listing price, all Airbnb service fees and state/local taxes are waived.

The hosts may decide how long they wish to list their homes for free within the program activation window (September 17-October 1).

As a public service, Airbnb is asking local news outlets to share the following link: https://www.airbnb.com/welcome/evacuees/utahwildfires

I’ve included an official statement from Kellie Bentz, Airbnb’s Global Head of Global Disaster Response and Relief below — if helpful to arrange an interview to get the word out, happy to facilitate.

“In response to the Pole Creek and Bald Mountain fires in Utah, Airbnb has activated Open Homes — the host community platform to provide free temporary housing to people displaced by natural disasters, conflict and illness. Through this program, those in need of temporary accommodations are able to connect with hosts in Utah and Sanpete Counties who are opening their homes free of charge now through October 1.”

We encourage hosts in these areas to help those in need by listing any space they have available on Open Homes for free. Our thoughts are with everyone impacted by these fires, and we thank the dedicated government and emergency response personnel who are keeping our communities safe.

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