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Airbnb aims to offer free housing to COVID-19 responders

A new option would let hosts offer homes for free to health care workers and first responders.

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Airbnb will work with its network of hosts to help provide temporary housing to 100,000 COVID-19 responders and health care professionals, the company said Thursday. The expanded efforts build on pilot programs in Italy and France, where nearly 6,000 hosts have already offered their homes, according to a press release. 

In the new program, hosts can opt to open their homes for free through Airbnb's emergency-housing Open Homes platform, created in 2012. Airbnb also said it will waive all fees for any guest's stay if hosts can't offer their residences for free. The company said it will implement stricter sanitizing and safety measures at the participating residences. 

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"Medical workers and first responders are providing lifesaving support during the coronavirus outbreak and we want to help," Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia said in the release. "We've heard from countless hosts around the world who want to provide a comforting home to heroic first responders. We are connecting our nonprofit partners, government agencies and others with our incredible host community to work together in these extraordinary times."

For further information on participating, hosts can visit Airbnb's COVID-19 relief website