Airbnb Is Offering Free Housing To People Displaced By California Wildfires

"Our hosts asked us to create a way for them to be seen as a resource by those in need, and we have."

Despite progress being made against the wildfires ravaging northern California, the Los Angeles Times reports some 100,000 people have been displaced and nearly 6,000 homes have been damaged by the blazes. That's why Airbnb is now offering free housing to those impacted and in need of shelter.

According to HuffPost, upwards of 900 Airbnb hosts in the surrounding areas have already opened their homes at no cost to those in need as part of Airbnb's Open Homes Program. 

In a statement posted on its website, the hospitality company said, "Our hosts asked us to create a way for them to be seen as a resource by those in need, and we have. When the tool is activated, Airbnb automatically contacts hosts in the impacted and surrounding areas asking if they have extra space to share with their displaced neighbors. Hosts who respond choose to list their spaces free of charge, and Airbnb waives all booking fees."

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The initiative began earlier this month as the fires quickly began to spread, and is expected to last through October 30. Areas where homes are available now include Santa Rosa, Oakland, Berkeley, and more.

As practical as this idea sounds, it's hardly the first time Airbnb's Open Homes Program has been put into effect. The initiative was in place earlier this month in Las Vegas following the horrific mass shooting during the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival, and the program has also been activated in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, which struck various parts of the world earlier this year and left millions without homes. 

Also trying to ease the burden on those negatively impacted by the relentless wildfires in California is celebrity chef, Guy Fieri. Last week the Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives host set up a mobile kitchen in an effort to feed thousands of evacuees and emergency workers. "This is the least we can do. We're so happy to do it," he said at the time. "We're so sorry for friends who have lost homes. There's a lot of really good people coming together." 

Though there's no doubt thousands of Californians are grateful for Airbnb and Fieri's assistance, the spirit of the people of California is as strong and unbreakable as ever. According to a road sign in nearby Sonoma, "The love in the air is thicker than the smoke." 

Cover image via AlesiaKan / Shutterstock.com.

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