air bnb housing the homeless after sandyHave you heard of Air BnB?  On the off chance you haven’t, they’re a unique travel site where you can look for accommodation.  The unique thing is that instead of looking for accommodation in hotels and guest houses, you’re looking for somewhere to stay in regular folks houses.

Regular folks can advertise their spare rooms/garages/sofa on the site for others to rent it for their holidays or other trips.  It’s a fantastic idea that offers a unique and innovative twist to travel accommodation, whilst of course allowing property owners to earn a bit of extra cash.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy however, this community of property owners have started using the platform for good rather than just profit.  They’ve been using the Air BnB platform to offer up accommodation for those that have lost their homes as a result of the storm.

According to their blog, they’ve thus far managed to give around 4,000 people shelter.  With obviously many more people in need, they’re upping the ante.  Whereas previously things had all been community led, now Air BnB are mobilising their own resources to help make this happen.  They’re removing their usual fees, allowing people to offer up their spare space to those affected by Sandy for free.

Anyone taking part in the scheme is listed on the Donated Sandy Housing List, so it’s nice and easy for those in need to find those participating.  In addition to the free listings, there is also a discounted list as well.

So the Air BnB community has mobilised to make thousands of homes available to those in need in the storm affected areas.  Whilst most organisations have some kind of CSR policy, this is a fantastic example of how communities can self organise around a common cause when the platform exists to enable them.