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AirBNB Open Home policy helps evacuees flee from Dorian

AirBNB has a diverse business, most people don’t even know the extent in which they operate in multiple verticals.  Now that Hurricane Dorian is approaching the US, AirBNB has activated their Open Home Policy, see trending thread on this topic:

AirBNB has activated their Open Home policy and there are hundreds of free places to stay in Central/West Florida and surrounding states for evacuees. If you need shelter, or can’t afford to evacuate, please consider using this service to stay safe. from r/TropicalWeather

Just another service you probably didn’t know AirBNB even offered.  Could this also be a solution the the homeless crisis in Los Angeles?  You might think it’s weird, but homeowners are actually open to the idea, such as this LA resident:

Six out of the six youths in Safe Place’s inaugural Host Home Program ultimately landed in permanent housing, and there’s every reason to hope Keyawna and Jesse will too. They are currently living with another Safe Place host family. The model is so promising, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority is helping to fund its expansion here. With approximately 500,000 single-family homes in Los Angeles, if only 10% of homeowners participated, we wouldn’t see any young people living on our streets.  After Keyawna and Jesse left, I found bits of pulpy bunny litter lodged in the nooks and crannies of my home and a note thanking me for changing their lives.  

AirBNB is a real estate play.  They have already announced that they are getting into the real estate business, and in a real big way:

Airbnb’s product development team, Samara, announced the project on Thursday. The Backyard initiative will prototype new ways that homes can be designed and built to accommodate flexible and shared living arrangements, while still being sustainable and adaptable.  Backyard aims to test prototypes units as soon as the fall of 2019.  “We began with a simple question: What does a home that is designed and built for sharing actually look and feel like?” Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia said in a statement about Backyard. “The answer is not simple at all.  “Other questions quickly emerged,” said Gebbia. “Can a home respond to the needs of many inhabitants over a long period of time? Can it support and reflect the tremendous diversity of human experience? Can it keep up with the rate at which the world changes? Can we accomplish this without filling landfills with needless waste?

That’s a good start.  One can easily imagine a world where AirBNB starts being their own host, or helping hosts in more intimate ways.  That’s not against the ethos of AirBNB it’s actually just adding on to a great idea and making it better.  The hotel industry has become too institutionalized and is dysfunctional.  Before AirBNB there were no other choices.  Now there are many.  As AirBNB grows, will Hotels be the next competitors of AirBNB?  What’s certain is that AirBNB is a real estate play as much as it’s a hospitality play.