Southern California

Airbnb Hosts Offer Free Stays to Woolsey Fire, Hill Fire Evacuees, Volunteers

The fires combined have destroyed nearly 400 structures and continue to threaten about 57,000 homes

Residents across Southern California are opening up their doors to the tens of thousands of people impacted by two devastating wildfires that together scorched nearly 100,000 acres in Ventura County.

More than 850 homes throughout the region, including dozens in San Diego County, have been listed for free from Nov 8 to 29 through the short-term rental service Airbnb for people displaced by the Hill and Woolsey fires. 

The Hill Fire north of Malibu was nearly contained Monday morning while the nearly 92,000-acre Woolsey Fire continued to burn from eastern Ventura County to the Malibu coast. 

The fires combined have destroyed nearly 400 structures and continue to threaten about 57,000 homes. 

The free stays were being offered through Airbnb's Open Homes Program, which connects evacuees, emergency workers an volunteers with a place to stay, courtesy of homeowners who already list their property through the service.

Evacuees and others in need of a place to stay must have an Airbnb account and can then browse listing through the "find shelter" button on the disaster-response page

The program started in 2012 when hosts asked Airbnb to create a way that they could be seen as a resource to those in need, like those impacted by natural disasters, medical concerns and refugees.

When there is an emergency, Airbnb automatically contacts hosts in the area to see if they have space to house those impacted. When hosts respond yes, their place is listed with all fees waived. Hosts who wish to join the Open House Program can visit here

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