Georgians welcoming Florence evacuees through Airbnb Open Homes
MACON, Ga. -- Airbnb has activated its Open Homes program for Hurricane Florence Evacuees in the southeastern US, and some Georgians are ready to welcome anyone seeking shelter.
According to Airbnb, hosts in certain areas in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia and Alabama are opening up their homes for free through October 1 to displaced neighbors and relief workers.
Middle Georgians have also started welcoming evacuees.
“We used to live in Miami and had to evacuate regularly, and during that time there was no service like Airbnb, so it was a scary time trying to figure out where to go with a family and kids," said one Airbnb host in Macon.
The Jackson family, based in Atlanta, has participated in the Open Homes program before but said they haven't gotten a response quite like they've seen with Hurricane Florence.
“This time is the first time we’ve actually been overwhelmed with requests," said Kelly Jackson.
The family said it was an easy decision to open up their home.
“If you have vacancies in the area, I honestly think anyone should open it up to evacuees. It’s a great way to relieve the financial pressure and having to leave your city and all of your belongings behind," Jackson said.
Kevin Leong is another host who's opening his home to a mother and daughter from Henderson, North Carolina and a family from Wilmington, North Carolina.
"I thought this might be a good way to give back to the program and help some folks out," said Leong.
Potential hosts in the region can contact Airbnb to make their home available to relief crews and evacuees.
"In the event of major emergencies like Florence, Airbnb activates its host community through Open Homes to support neighbors helping neighbors. The Open Homes platform allows residents who have been displaced -- as well as emergency relief workers and volunteers who are coming in to assist -- to find temporary accommodation with local Airbnb hosts who are opening their homes free of charge," Airbnb said.