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Airbnb opening homes in Chattanooga for $0 to Hurricane Florence evacuees, relief workers

Airbnb is reaching out to people seeking shelter from Hurricane Florence, opening some homes in our area for as low as $0 per night. (Image: Open Grid / Scheduler Grid Engine)

Airbnb is reaching out to people seeking shelter from Hurricane Florence, opening some homes in our area for as low as $0 per night.

The home rental company has activated its Disaster Response Program throughout East Tennessee to those evacuating ahead of the storm, as well as those coming to assist in emergency relief efforts.

In our area, this specifically includes the Greater Chattanooga area, Tri-Cities, and Greater Knoxville.

The company says the $0 listings will be available through October 1st.

Here's how the Disaster Response Program works:

• Airbnb has contacted all of its hosts within the metropolitan areas of Atlanta, Athens, Augusta, and Macon in Georgia; Asheville, Charlotte and Greensboro, and Winston-Salem in North Carolina; Anderson, Columbia, Greenville, Rock Hill and Spartanburg in South Carolina; Chattanooga, Knoxville, Johnson City and Kingsport in Tennessee; and Charlottesville, Lynchburg, Richmond and Roanoke in Virginia to inform them of the Open Homes activation and encourage them to take part in the program if they are in a position to help.

• Hosts interested in listing their properties for free are being directed to follow airbnb.com/disaster, where they can opt in by clicking “I can offer my space for free”.

• Airbnb has also contacted all Airbnb users within the evacuating territories to make them aware of this tool if they are in need of shelter.

• The evacuees are being directed to follow the same link -- airbnb.com/disaster -- where they can locate free listings within close proximity by clicking “I need a place to stay”.

• The Airbnb platform then facilitates the connection between the hosts and guests.

• Residents in the activation areas who are not currently Airbnb users are still able to take part in the program either as hosts or guests -- simply by creating a verified account on the platform.

• In addition to the free listing price, all Airbnb service fees and state/local taxes are waived.

• The hosts may decide how long they wish to list their homes for free within the program activation window (now until October 1).

You can find listings and more information about the program on their website here.

Airbnb spokesman Kim Rubey has issued the following statement:

"In response to the growing threat of Hurricane Florence, Airbnb has activated Open Homes -- our platform to provide free temporary housing to people displaced by natural disasters, conflict and illness -- to help those who are evacuating the storm’s potential path. Through our program, those in need of temporary accommodations are able to connect with hosts throughout Atlanta, Athens, Augusta, and Macon, Georgia; Asheville, Charlotte and Greensboro, and Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Anderson, Columbia, Greenville, Rock Hill and Spartanburg, South Carolina; Chattanooga, Knoxville, Johnson City and Kingsport, Tennessee; and Charlottesville, Lynchburg, Richmond and Roanoke, Virginia who are opening their homes free of charge now through October 1st.

We encourage hosts in these areas to help those in need by listing their available rooms or homes on the platform for free. Our thoughts continue to be with everyone in the path of the storm, and we thank the dedicated government and emergency response personnel who are keeping our communities safe."

Depend on us to keep you posted as we learn more.

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