Airbnb gives free housing after Barcelona attack

The home rental company activates its disaster response tool for those affected by the assault that left 14 people dead.

Dara Kerr
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.
2 min read

Airbnb has activated its disaster response tool in Barcelona.


Airbnb is offering free housing to people affected by the deadly attack in Barcelona.

The home rental company said Friday that it "activated our disaster response tool" in the Spanish city after a car rammed into pedestrians in the Las Ramblas neighborhood on Thursday. Fourteen people were killed and more than 100 were injured.

"Our thoughts are with those affected by this terrible attack," Arnaldo Munoz, Airbnb's country manager for Spain, said in a statement. "Through the tool, travelers whose journeys have been affected will be able to connect with local hosts who are opening up their homes at no charge."

While Airbnb typically aims to make a profit off its home rentals, the company is increasingly offering free services to people in need. It initially created its disaster response tool in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which left more than 100,000 people homeless in the New York City area. And more recently, Airbnb offered places to stay to immigrants who were stranded by President Donald Trump's travel ban.

The way the disaster response tool works is Airbnb contacts people in the area asking if they have a room or couch they'd like to offer for free. If Airbnb gets takers, they can list their space on the company's disaster response portal. Those in need can find places to stay on this same portal. Airbnb said the portal now has more than 80 listings in Barcelona.

So far, Airbnb has offered the tool in 65 disasters around the world. More than 3,100 people have offered up their homes and more than 3,590 nights have been donated. The tool will be open to people in Barcelona through Sept. 7.

"In addition to our hosts, we also want to thank all of the emergency responders who are working around the clock to tackle this extremely difficult and tragic situation," Munoz said.

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