Airbnb works with NYC offering free housing to Sandy victims

With thousands of hurricane refugees still in need of shelter, New York City's mayor is working with the peer-to-peer home-sharing service to find those people temporary places to stay.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Dara Kerr
2 min read
Airbnb is partnering with New York City's government to offer Hurricane Sandy victims free housing. Screenshot by Dara Kerr/CNET

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, more than 100,000 East Coasters have been left homeless and scrambling to find shelter. And, it gets worse -- today another storm is hitting the region bringing more freezing rain and wind.

So, New Yorkers will most likely welcome the news that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced today that the city's government will partner with Airbnb to offer Sandy victims free temporary housing.

"Airbnb is now enabling people to offer space to those in need -- absolutely free. People who wish to share their space at no cost to guests can sign up immediately," Airbnb wrote in a blog post today. "Airbnb will recoup no fees from these free listings. Let's see what happens when we all come together to share with those in need."

Since the massive hurricane hit last week, last-minute Airbnb bookings skyrocketed in the area. According to the peer-to-peer home-sharing service, more than 2,500 bookings were made since the storm landed and roughly 4,000 people were given shelter -- including many people who live in affected areas.

Now that the company is taking it one step further and offering free places to stay, thousands more people might have the chance to find temporary housing. Already, roughly 250 Airbnb members have posted free places to stay, with listings like a "comfy sofa-bed for 1-2 people" in Brooklyn or a "spacious and clean two bedroom" in Manhattan.

"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," Airbnb wrote in its blog post. "There are thousands more people in need of shelter. And there are still thousands of people with extra space. It's time to come together."