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Preparing for Hurricane Irma
Hundreds of people gather in an emergency shelter at the Miami-Dade County Fair Expo Center in Miami, Florida, September 8, 2017, ahead of Hurricane Irma. SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Airbnb Offers Free Homes to Hurricane Irma Evacuees

Sep 09, 2017

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has urged citizens to "get out" as Hurricane Irma approaches his state.

In a bid to help some evacuees find shelter, home-sharing site Airbnb has compiled a database of its hosts who are willing to open up their doors for those displaced by the oncoming natural disaster.

According to the website, some 84 hosts in the Atlanta, Tallahassee, and Pensacola areas have opened up their homes for free between Sept. 6 to Sept. 28.

"We are looking to host people displaced by Hurricane Irma," wrote Daniel of Atlanta who is offering one bedroom. "As someone affected by Katrina, I know how hard it can be and we'd love to open our home to help get someone off the highway and into a safe space to crash for a while."

Airbnb is offering the housing to displaced neighbors and workers who have been deployed to help. The company has been running the program, in which it calls for hosts to volunteer shelter in times of disaster or conflict, since 2012.

It seems, however, that all of these homes have been booked between Sunday to Monday as of mid-day Saturday.

But Irma is also causing headaches for Airbnb consumers in other ways. As storms sweep through the country, some users have been forced to cancel their trips—and it seems that some Airbnb hosts aren't willing to refund those users.

While Airbnb gives its own hosts control over their cancellation policies, Airbnb says that it will intervene if the guest's reasons for canceling includes "significant natural disasters or severe weather incidents impacting the location of destination or location of departure."

Meanwhile, Google Maps is also partnering with Florida to update road closures in real time.

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