Airbnb has activated its disaster response tool to help people affected by the recent attacks in Barcelona. Airbnb’s tool offers free housing to anyone who urgently needs a place to stay. At the time of publication, more than 80 people have opened up their homes free of charge.
“Airbnb has activated our Disaster Response Tool to assist those affected by the tragic events in Barcelona,” Airbnb Country Manager for Spain Arnaldo Munoz said in a statement. “Our thoughts are with those affected by this terrible attack.”
Through the disaster response tool, travelers whose trips were affected will be able to connect with local Airbnb hosts who have opened up their homes for free. The free housing is available to anyone checking in between now and Sept. 7, 2017.
“In addition to our hosts, we also want to thank all of the emergency responders who are working around the clock to tackle this extremely difficult and tragic situation,” Munoz said.
Yesterday, someone drove a van through a crowd of dozens of people, which has left 14 people dead and more than 100 injured. That same day, Cambrils suffered a fatal shooting that resulted in the deaths of five people. As of now, Airbnb has not deployed the disaster response tool in Cambrils. For now, Airbnb says it is monitoring the situation in Cambrils and keeping in touch with local officials.
It’s worth noting that Airbnb has had a tumultuous relationship with the local government in Barcelona. Just last month, Barcelona city officials put beds near the center of the Catalan capital with multilingual signs saying “Just because this bed is available on the internet doesn’t mean it is legal.” For some context, around 40 percent of the 16,000 homes rented during the holidays are illegal.
Airbnb first launched the disaster response tool after Hurricane Sandy struck New York City in 2012. Including today’s response, Airbnb has launched the tool 66 times around the world.