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Airbnb Deal To Provide Housing During Times Of Disaster

03 June 2016

Premier Daniel Andrews today signed a ground-breaking agreement with Airbnb in California to provide additional housing options for displaced Victorians and emergency workers during an emergency.

As part of his official US visit, the Premier toured Airbnb’s San Francisco headquarters and met with Head of Global Disaster Relief and Recovery Kelly Bentz to sign the Australian-first partnership and bolster Victoria’s emergency response.

In the event of an emergency or natural disaster, Airbnb will facilitate hosts within its network who wish to provide accommodation for affected residents who have been displaced, as well as emergency services workers.

Victoria currently has about 10,000 Airbnb listings, many of them offered in regional and bushfire-prone areas.

This new agreement sets out the roles and responsibilities of each party during an emergency, including how accommodation will be coordinated. The Government will incorporate this into its disaster planning and management.

A similar agreement was activated during the recent wildfires at Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada when around 90,000 people were forced to evacuate their homes.

In response, Airbnb activated its Disaster Response Tool, which automatically emailed hosts in surrounding areas asking them to list their place for free. The company also waived all service fees for those affected by the fire.

The co-operation between Airbnb, government and the community assisted greatly in managing the crisis.

Last month, the Andrews Labor Government introduced reforms to help stamp out bad behaviour at short stay accommodation, making apartment owners and their short-stay guests potentially liable for any damage, noise or loss of amenity caused by their guests.

Short stay accommodation generates around $792 million in revenue for the state and supports more than 64,000 jobs.

Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews

"Victorians are renowned for their generosity in the most difficult times. What this partnership with Airbnb does is connect people who are willing and able to help with those who are in their greatest hour of need."

“In any emergency when Victorian families are forced to leave their houses, they won’t just have the option of a hotel room, but the option of various homes that might better suit their needs.

Quotes attributable to Airbnb Head of Global Disaster Relief and Recovery Kelly Bentz

"We've created a disaster tool and we activate it in the event of an emergency because you never know if a host already has a reservation or there may be a couple of reasons they're not able to open their homes, so what we try to do is make it as easy as possible."

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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