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    Celebrating the generous hosts in the Open Homes program

    Meet hosts from around the world who’ve opened their doors for good.
    By Airbnb on Oct 11, 2018
    3 min read
    Updated Dec 7, 2020

    Highlights

    • Airbnb’s Open Homes program launched in 2012 and was inspired by the generosity of hosts who went above and beyond for guests

    • Since then, more than 70,000 guests have found a free place to stay in times of need

    Open Homes is now Airbnb.org

    Airbnb's Open Homes program has evolved into Airbnb.org, a brand-new 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Thank you for creating the Open Homes community with us. We're excited for you to be a part of this new chapter.

    Since Airbnb’s beginning in 2008, we’ve discovered one thing in our community that still holds true: Airbnb hosts are eager to help.

    Our Open Homes disaster relief program started in 2012—thanks to a host named Shell, who you’ll meet below. Since then, more than 70,000 guests have found a free place to stay in times of need.

    We can’t take credit—our benevolent hosts have led the way with their generosity. Here are some of those big-hearted hosts who turned the tide on tragedy by providing refuge, transforming lives, and forming unbreakable bonds.

    Shell: The woman who started it all

    The original Open Homes host, Shell first opened her doors in Brooklyn to displaced New Yorkers after Superstorm Sandy in 2012. More than 1,400 hosts then did the same. Because of this act of humanity, Airbnb then created formalized disaster response tools.

    Juan and Bob: The positive couple

    Kissimmee, Florida, couple Juan and Bob first opened their home after the Pulse nightclub shooting to family and friends of the victims, and then to those displaced by Hurricane Matthew. “The fact that you get to meet great people that you would never have met if it wasn’t for the terrible circumstances is the good side of any tragedy,” the couple told Upworthy.

    Jorge: The rock

    When Laura and her senior parents lost their home after the 7.1-magnitude earthquake in central Mexico in 2017, Jorge welcomed them into his home in Mexico City. His hospitality was crucial, they say, so they could have a moment to think and a place where they could plan their next steps.

    Susan: The transformer

    “The word ‘refugee’ just dissipates for us,” says host Susan of Denver. “We’re welcoming another set of human beings.” Susan hosted Mousa—an Iraqi man who received death threats after working as an interpreter for the U.S.—as well as his wife and two young sons.

    Linda: The advocate

    For Linda, hosting Iraqi refugee Mohammed and his wife and son in Dallas was her “way to stand up…in a positive way,” she says. Mohammed supported the U.S. as a translator during the Iraq War. Linda extended his family’s stay another month (at no charge) until they found and settled into a new home.

    Alaa: The connector

    Alaa is a Syrian refugee who hosted one of the most successful social impact experiences in Amsterdam. He moved to the Netherlands in 2015 and works with a nonprofit called Blendin that connects refugees to Dutch locals.

    Els: The empathizer

    Els of Belgium wanted to pay forward the Italian hospitality she received when she moved to Rome. And that she did. Fode, a humanitarian refugee from Mali, says his time living with Els was the happiest he’d been since beginning his new life in Italy.

    Anto, Claire, and Anne: The dream makers

    After nine surgeries and six months of chemotherapy, brain cancer survivor Claire Svehla’s one wish was to travel to Paris. A partnership between the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Airbnb connected Claire to French experiences hosts Anto, a bike tour guide, Claire, a fashion designer, and Anne, a performance artist. The trio helped the young woman experience Paris like a local. Claire left the City of Light saying, “I don’t feel like a sick child anymore.” What better reward is there?

    Join a growing community that unlocks the power of sharing during times of need.

    Information contained in this article may have changed since publication.

    Highlights

    • Airbnb’s Open Homes program launched in 2012 and was inspired by the generosity of hosts who went above and beyond for guests

    • Since then, more than 70,000 guests have found a free place to stay in times of need

    Airbnb
    Oct 11, 2018
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