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Homeless guests

Having been a host for four years now, I’ve hosted hundreds of guests, almost all of whom were great people.

However, every now and then, I am hosting someone who obviously doesn’t have a permanent home. So basically, I am giving shelter to a homeless person. Sometimes, those people have well-off friends who will pay for the stay, since the guys who are homeless are obviously often broke, too. But other homeless people don’t mind paying the regular fees, so they are basically long-term guests who provide a constant income to me.

Now this is not generally a problem. However, these “homeless” people are obviously different from normal guests. They are not really “settled down”, they often don’t have a permanent job, neither do they have close friends, and also, they create a certain atmosphere in my home which is different. They are usually very friendly, sometimes even too friendly, since they tend to need a lot of attention, i.e. they are constantly seeking conversation with me (I am a live-in host, i.e. I live in the same flat, too).

Is anyone else able to share experiences with hosting “homeless people”?

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Yes it is different. You need to consider them room mates instead of guests.

Are they homeless when they are a LTR?

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That0s incredible. I have never heard such thing. The digital nomads, yes. But the homeless not really. Do you mean hipster folks, broken artists? Or do you really mean homeless like dumpster searching and living in the park homeless?

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I’ve never had this. Maybe define what you mean by homeless?

@Eberhard_Blocher You aren’t ‘giving shelter’ to homeless people. You are a business which is being paid to provide accommodation in return for money.

I provide emergency housing for young people who are genuinely homeless (not people who can afford to stay in an Airbnb). Yes they need additional support because of the situation they find themselves in (having suffered abuse, violence, breakdown of family relationships etc). I also pay for the costs of them staying with me ie provide them with an evening meal and breakfast etc.

Personally I wouldn’t host people who didn’t have a reason to visit my city for the reasons you outline.

You don’t ‘host’ homeless people.


Indeed I’m struggling with the definition of homeless. Homeless people generally won’t choose Airbnb as it is rather expensive in comparison to traditional renting.

I had a similar experience recently. We had a guest who was in a bad accident (burned) and lost her job and home. She’d been living in a hostel, but had to switch as hostels have a maximum number of days per year that each resident can stay. She was an exhausting guest. She followed me around from the time she arrived talking the whole time. She took as many of the travel size amenities we provide as she could, including a subway card which was supposed to be returned. The worst part was that she kept giving me New Age advise on how I should manage my life and health. We were in a slow period during January. My husband thought it would be a good idea to lower our base price to $49.00. I pointed out to him that the effect ended up being hosting a more difficult guest than usual for less money than usual. If you can, I recommend that you raise your price which will deter people who are broke.


Oh but they do Zandra. At least where I am in California, Long Beach specifically, because landlords or property management companies require proof of employment and income as well as multiple references from former landlords. Many “homeless” people can’t qualify so Air is their best option.

I’ve had several people show up expecting to find a rental immediately but are shocked and disappointed to find that it’s a long process that can take days to find out if they’ve been accepted as a tenant. I’ve had Indian guys, a couple European ones, too, who hadn’t found anything after staying with me for my max of 7 days. They’d been rejected by landlords for whatever reason.

That’s not what I would call homeless. Being in between housing, particularly when you are moving to a new area is not exactly homelessness where you have no money and no way of paying bills. Homeless for me are those people you have on skid row. Are you saying people on skid row are booking Airbnb’s?

If a person can pay for their listing while finding permanent accommodation they’re not homeless in the traditional sense.


Exactly this! You really do need to define what you mean by ‘homeless’. I regularly host people who are moving here for work or study and need a base for a week or so while they find more permanent accommodation. Sometimes they can be a bit needier than your average tourist Airbnb-er because they are in more often, hog all the bandwidth (lol), want to use the kitchen more, ask for advice etc. But I’m ok with it, I love my city so always happy to give advice. They’re no worse than any other kind of guest, in my experience. In fact, there are at least three people who ended up renting in the neighbourhood because they liked it and I see them occasionally in the local shops and the park. It’s nice!


No my dear, of course I didn’t mean destitute people on skid row. They aren’t going to be looking for rentals because they are cheaper than Airbnb. What most of us meant are those who have no permanent home. Some are floating around from place to place and some are relocating. I’ve had both.

What I was responding to was your comment about guests renting because it’s cheaper. In my area you can’t just walk into a rental office or approach a landlord and plonk down money and move in. There’s a shortage of rentals, prices are skyrocketing and you have to “apply”, which is why some end up doing the Airbnb thing for extended periods of time even though it’s lots more expensive.

As an aside, I’m in Oregon on the coast right now. I can’t believe how much cheaper everything is. Now if it would just stop raining I’d consider moving here. I may just do that anyway.

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Well, yes. That’s a good distinction. In fact, right now I have a guy staying with me who I call “homeless”, but perhaps “digital nomad” would be a better description. He is from Finland originally, but has been staying in Germany for some two years now. He is sometimes living in Berlin, sometimes in Cologne (which is where I am based), sometimes he is moving back to Finland for a couple of weeks.

I call him homeless because he doesn’t have a permanent home. Airbnb is a great experience, but if you change homes every other week or so, I don’t think you could say that you have anything you call “home”. Yes, Airbnb boasts a slogan “Belong Anywhere” and this is just what this guy is doing.

However, if you have young children, or parents to look after, or even just close friends, or if you want to take a regular class somewhere, or attend any club, you cannot “Belong Anywhere”. You have to have a fixed point of reference, somewhere you call a home. If you don’t have that, you are basically “homeless”.

My homeless guest is a nice guy, though. He has been staying with me for a week, and will have to move out on Sunday, since I need the room when some people who made a “regular booking” will arrive.

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I am under the impression he does have a home: yours. You are not giving shelter to a homeless person. You host an extrovert digital nomad (most are freelancing when business comes), trying to bond with a fellow human being, and for whom Airbnb is the new normal.

I think you had me at “a homeless from Finland”. :smiley:

More concerning: did this guy not make a “regular booking”?

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Well, yes. The most important question he had before making a booking was “Do you have a good internet - Wifi - connection”. So he is in fact working freelance for clients from his native Finland, from the room inside my flat, most of the time.

He did make a regular Airbnb booking initially, but we then agreed on a follow-up contract directly, avoiding the Airbnb fees.

The tone of your first message really felt like that guest was broke, with deep social anxiety, and probably a drinking problem by extrapolating a bit. Turns out that guy probably owns a Mac Book Pro and is travelling from Airbnb to Airbnb, while spending most of his time at work, and can pay for his expenses on his own.

If you want a shortcut, “business traveller” is just as equally valid.

That guy is an extrovert. He is okay with paying for sharing a space probably because it provides an opportunity for a social interaction (which is a big deal when you are alone travelling for months). If you don’t want to have your private space invaded, make it clear to him: you are probably not the first he has met in this situation.

You seem to have radically different opinions about how anyone should manage their life, and that is fine. I have yet to meet one digital nomad who doesn’t realize some of the inconvenience you have outlined after some time.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Actually, you are quite right: he is very careful about invading my private space - he always knocks on the door before entering my living room - which he has to cross in order to enter the kitchen, to cook.

However, your other thought also isn’t far off. I’ve also had a few guests staying with me, in the past, who were broke, with a drinking problem. When someone asks to stay at my Airbnb, whose address is actually supposed to be my own home town, I start to worry.

My current guest defined himself as a business traveler. I imagined a guy out most of the day who didn’t want to come ‘home’ to a cold hotel room.
Turns out he is working out of my living room, and simply wanted to work in a nice and quiet environment and within walking distance to a great choice of ethnic restaurants and US expats hangouts.

I am not a little worried about this sort of guests, as they tend to stay glued to the screen most of the time. (Just like I do.:grin:)

I think it is a great way to explore the world and different lifestyles, as long as you don’t lack ‘a base’ in your heart and soul. If I were younger and single, I’d do it for a while in a heartbeat! Being able to live WITH a foreigner abroad is the best way to see how really is life there. I have seen several foreigners living in my home country that always missed something of the typical family life there, and not because they didn’t want to. Simply, they didn’t grown up in a local family and missed that part.

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Any idea how many ABB guests might be “digital nomads”? I must admit, it had never occurred to me that this could be a chosen lifestyle. I have never hosted such a guest.

So you are then clearly ‘not giving shelter to a homeless person’ as you indicated in your initial post. Rather you are being paid by a business traveller to stay in your home - a pure and simple business transaction.

Why would you refer to him as homeless - he simply chooses to live in a variety of places. By any definition of the word it doesn’t make him homeless.

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