Airbnb’s Disaster Response Program was launched after Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and it’s leaping into action again due to Hurricane Harvey slamming into Texas and Louisiana over night. Through September 1st, AirBnB locations around San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, and other areas will be offering free accommodations to evacuees who had to flee Corpus Christi and other hard-hit cities the bore the brunt of the storm’s hundred-mile an hour winds winds and heavy rain.
“Our thoughts continue to be with everyone in the path of the storm, and we thank the dedicated government and emergency response personnel who are keeping our communities safe,” said Airbnb’s Head of Global Disaster Response and Relief, Kellie Bentz, in an official statement.
Booking works just like AirBnb’s usual service, only there is no actual charge. Hosts can sign up to offer up their place to evacuees, too, much like they would normally list a space. All service fees are waved for the next week, and there is 24-7 customer support. Airbnb also helps connect hosts with Red Cross and other disaster relief services to increase safety preparedness. The company has also been offering this service in Spain following the Barcelona attack, and it was activated it last fall when Hurricane Matthew hit Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina.
Hurricane Harvey hit Texas and Louisiana as a Category 4 storm last night, and though it’s weakened to a Category 1, it’s expected to cause continued flooding and damage throughout the state as the storm pushes further inland. FEMA is describing Harvey as a “deadly inland event.” Cities on the coast could see 40 inches of rain, and metro areas further inland will get their share, too over the next week. President Trump has declared an official disaster proclamation.