Airbnb Open homes now Airbnb Frontline

Just got the begging email asking for free accommodation for needed workers. As I am in Australia and we aren’t having the issues the rest of the world is having.
I am ignoring it, but wonder about how the rest of the hosts that are a part of this forum feel about this? I don’t offer free accommodation as I am in a business, have bills to pay and feel that Airbnb is doing the warm and fuzzies at the hosts communities expense.


I used to work for a law firm that collected donations from employees for a local Arts charity. Guess whose name the donation was made in? Not the “employees of MBA” but Mr Bigwig Asshole himself. And only himself. It soured me on generosity thru work situations and to me, this is the same. It’s a “look at me” move from a company that is using their hosts to up their PR visibility.

I’d rather - and have - contact local hospitals and schools directly to offer my home for traveling nurses, etc.


It would also be an out of pocket expense for hosts that pay cleaners, not only once but twice (before the arrival of nurses and then after their departure).


One of the problems with the open homes programme is that many hosts who signed up for this, whether to provide housing for those who need it because if a natural disaster, or essential Covid workers, ended up getting guests who were totally dishonest about it- they hadn’t been affected by a fire or flood at all. Another host got a doctor near the beginning of COVID who made it sound like he was in need of housing for his job, but instead arrived with the whole family for what was obviously just a holiday.

I even read a guest post once, after a California fire, who was complaining because the free place he’d been offered to stay wasn’t in the area of LA where he wanted to be.

So even if a host wanted to participate in this, Airbnb lack of vetting would make it a no-go for me.

And it’s one thing to provide some brief free housing for a family whose home was destroyed, but a host shouldn’t have to also shoulder the expenses involved. If the guests aren’t willing to pay for the utilities, laundry, cleaning, etc, that doesn’t show much appreciation. Their house may have burnt down or been flooded, but their bank account wasn’t.


I signed up when this came out originally and I got someone who, when I asked how they found me, etc (bc I was curious how it worked), told me they didn’t know what the discount was for but they agreed to it. I told them it was because they were a first responder or front line worker. His response - “But we’re not …”

I’m not sure how he qualified but something was not functioning correctly or he was dishonest initially? :thinking:


No. Simply… no. If AirBnB wants the warm fuzzies, let them pay for it. Just more corporate ‘woke’ hypocritical BS…


Also, annoyingly, if you click on the Frontline Stays item on your listing, and go to the “Next” section, “Free Stays” is toggled on automatically, and the “Host Responders” button is highlighted. You have to change it to “Discount” if you want to do it that way, and click on on “Cancel” to get off the page without signing up.


I don’t participate however each hurricane there’s flooding and locals need housing.

Although insurance may cover their stay, they pay upfront & get reimbursed later or maybe no reimbursement at all (Not all have flood insurance).

If their jobs still exist they are dealing with lots of extraordinary expenses and using whatever credit to get by until insurance pays, if at all.

They are facing difficult circumstances. I can’t afford a free stay but I will heavily discount as much as I can.

Needed workers get paid plus a stipend if traveling. We are not running a charity.


I didn’t get anything begging me to join, I guess I’m already signed up. It’s been so long I don’t remember and I didn’t get any requests.

My email had the profiles of three hosts who participated in the program. They claim to have helped 75k people. Some of you call it woke PR BS, I think it’s nice and it makes Airbnb look good. Corporations regularly participate in campaigns that make them look good.

Harley Davidson here regularly participates in blood drives. Appropriate for a murdercycle company, lol. Or the NFL with their whole Nov. month of pro-military hoo-rah, mostly with the goal of selling more merch.

Of course all corporations are evil entities in the exploitative late capitalist system with which we are burdened. But I’ll take what I can get.


So, you can participate in Frontline Stay at a discounted rate that you specify rather than free? For hosts that want to participate, that seems like a reasonable alternative to taking a loss on a stay.

This is the sticky point and I don’t expect the vetting to improve significantly due to the cost of proper vetting.

You have to think of Frontline Stays as a charity where only some percentage of donations are used directly to help those in need and the rest goes to overhead. If you accept a Frontline Stays reservation, consider the reservation is your donation to the charity and that it just might go to “overhead.” If the overhead bothers you, then don’t participate.

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We are in one of those places in California where forest fires occur regularly. If someone we know - and this is a small town where everyone knows everyone - needs a place to crash we’d put them up in one of our campers or the personal non rentable guest place we have. We are not looking for long term housemates, paid or not. We all take care of each other here, and I cannot imagine any of us looking on any platform for a place to stay. Also, traveling nurses and temporary employees of the utility companies, etc, (needed workers) get paid and a generous housing stipend.


Oh definitely! My brother works for Duke Energy asa lineman and triple OT, in addition to their hotel and food and expenses paid for, is common. He says the requests are hard to get signed up under, because they fill up immediately. He’s done every hurricane run he can, leaving me to wonder why in the hell I went to college… He makes more than me by FAR and loves his job.

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I definitely do not participate in free housing. I’m a teacher also, and my work with drop out prevention speaks for itself. Giving free housing is not the charity I choose, so no guilt here. I spend enough money on feeding hungry kids in class. (I can’t stand for a kid to tell me they’re hungry, and they’ve moved lunch 'til the end of the day!)


I donate 10% of the proceeds from my Airbnb to a charity of my choice and I list that charity in my Airbnb listing (way at the bottom in “other things to note.”) I have no problem donating my Airbnb room in certain circumstances, I did it after the Wal Mart massacre here in El Paso and was contacted by the director of the program. But they didn’t find a match for me.

The most annoying thing about the program is that hosts do the donating and Airbnb takes the credit.


Hi KKC, I’m a reporter at the financial news website MarketWatch. I’m working on a a story about Airbnb’s efforts to house refugees and other people in need of emergency shelter. I’d like to speak to hosts about their thoughts on the program. I’m interested in writing about it because I haven’t seen too much coverage of how the program actually works in practice. If you’d like to get in touch, I’m at lalbrecht [at] marketwatch [dot] com. Thanks, Leslie

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I’ve forwarded your information to at least one member here who I thought might be interested. Others will hopefully contact you.

I’ll be emailing you shortly.


Well, I do hope that the focus of your story is the hosts, not Airbnb itself.

Airbnb is happy to take all the credit in the press for these initiatives, but none would be possible without the generosity of the hosts involved.



I’ve been listed with Open Homes and have yet to be contacted by Airbnb’s partner organizations for housing. This is my understanding of the program.

Airbnb does not own and is not physically providing properties; their presser headline is a bit shorthand.

Initially, the program was for hosts to sign up to offer free lodging for refugees and disaster victims. Solicitations for lodging could come through select charities/NGOs identified as Airbnb “partner” organizations, or individuals self-identifying as being in those categories.

Airbnb later added “frontline stays” for COVID responders and set up a nonprofit to provide financial support to the partner organizations, in addition to its existing platform for generous hosts to offer free and discounted housing.

Here is their own description of their nonprofit.,they%20serve%20with%20temporary%20stays.

I have on my own listed my space with Catholic Charities and have had a couple contacts for Afghan refugee housing in the DC metro area, which haven’t worked out due to scheduling issues.

I have received some information that refugee assistance organizations, at least locally, are much more interested in long term rental housing for resettlement, and may prefer hotels for short term lodging due to their stricter regulation, including safety features, and smaller likelihood of clients being subject to political or cultural agendas of less formal housing providers.

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Thanks everyone. If someone has had firsthand experience participating in the Open Homes/, I’d love to speak with them. Thanks,