"It allows our hosts to offer their spaces free of charge to anyone who's been displaced or needs to evacuate or is deploying in the area to help with relief efforts," said Kim Rubey, global head of social impact and philanthropy at Airbnb.
WASHINGTON — As Hurricane Florence forces people to leave their homes, the home-sharing company Airbnb has launched a disaster-relief program that hooks up storm evacuees and relief workers with temporary free housing.
“It allows our hosts to offer their spaces free of charge to anyone who’s been displaced or needs to evacuate or is deploying in the area to help with relief efforts,” said Kim Rubey, global head of social impact and philanthropy at Airbnb.
In Virginia, the program has been activated in Charlottesville, Lynchburg, Richmond and Roanoke.
“We’ve been doing this since the fall of 2012 when one of our hosts in Brooklyn wanted to offer her space for free in the wake of Superstorm Sandy,” said Rubey. “This is a very tangible opportunity to immediately help someone when they need it the most.”
Computer models of exactly what the storm might do varied, adding to the uncertainty. In contrast to the hurricane center’s official projection, a highly regarded European model had the storm turning southward off the North Carolina coast and coming ashore near the Georgia-South Carolina line.
In Virginia, where about 245,000 residents were ordered to evacuate low-lying areas, officials urged people to remain away from home despite forecast changes showing Florence’s path largely missing the state.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Like WTOP on Facebook and follow @WTOP on Twitter to engage in conversation about this article and others.