Home sharing platform Airbnb is asking more hosts to open their doors to evacuees seeking shelter from Hurricane Irma.
So far more than 150 hosts in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas have offered free stays for displaced residents or relief workers deployed to help.
Airbnb has been operating the Disaster Response program since 2012.
The program allows guests to search and secure free accommodation while hosts can set completely free or discounted stays.
The program is also in operation across the Caribbean region.
Shawn Sullivan, Airbnb’s public policy lead for Central America and the Caribbean said: “During natural disasters and other emergencies, Airbnb has the ability to activate our natural disaster tool and communicate directly with our hosts and ask that they open up their homes to displaced individuals and families in need of emergency housing.”
“We waive our fees and dedicate a team of Airbnb employees to make this happen as fast as possible. We have activated our disaster relief tool in Antigua for residents impacted in Barbuda and have done the same in the states of Florida.”
The company also says it will step in to mediate with hosts when ‘significant natural disasters or severe weather incidents impacting the location of destination or location of departure.’
Airbnb has received several complaints from customers over hosts’ refusal to refund money paid for trips in affected areas.
Airbnb hosts are normally free to set and amend their own cancellation policy.