As part of its Disaster Response Tool that aims to connect people in need of shelter, Airbnb has sent out a call to action to those hosts who are willing to put up evacuees for no charge in their available spaces.
The storm has prompted multiple evacuations in parts of Florida, including in Brevard, Martin, Palm Beach, Volusia, and Indian River counties.
Voluntary evacuations have also been recommended in counties such as Miami-Dade, Broward, St. Lucie, and Flagler.
Airbnb said in a news release that it is still looking for hosts who are not impacted by the storm, “so that they can list their home for free and assist in sheltering those in need.”
In addition, they have announced that new users who have never hosted will also be allowed to offer up their spaces to those in need of shelter.
As hurricane Matthew draws closer to the U.S., Florida Gov. Rick Scott has pleaded with residents living on the east coast to evacuate the area.
Scott even mentioned Airbnb’s service during his most recent briefing about the impending storm.
He said that in addition to Airbnb making rooms available for free, sites like Visit Florida and Expedia were making efforts to help residents find shelter.
The governor’s office reported that approximately 1.5 million people were in evacuation zones, and said that tolls had been suspended on major routes to make the evacuation process run smoothly.
The storm has impacted other events, as well. Even the presidential candidates are experiencing delays as a result.
Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama were scheduled to make an appearance in Miami Gardens that was postponed due to the storm.
The Trump campaign was also affected, cancelling a fundraiser that was supposed to happen in Florida this week.
Officials ranging from county officials to the White House have urged citizens to evacuate and prepare for the storm, even resorting to fear tactics as motivators for stubborn residents.
Approximately 62% of vacationers reported they would rather stay in a vacation rental, and while the situation may not be ideal, they can at least get shelter from the storm with Airbnb’s help.
The company has previously used the disaster tool to aid people after a storm has hit, but this is the first time the company has activated it before a storm. With any luck, they’ll be able to provide people with shelter and some peace of mind during the storm.