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Dozens of people on Airbnb are offering temporary shelter at no charge to evacuees in the path of Hurricane Harvey.
The house rental site is waiving service fees between Aug. 23 and Sept. 1 for those affected by the Category 2 storm. Airbnb posted an “Urgent Accommodations” URL filled with pages of free listings in San Antonio, Austin, and Dallas—major cities a safe distance inland along Interstate 35.
This isn’t the first time Airbnb helped evacuees escape a devastating storm. Several users opened up their homes to those in New York fleeing Hurricane Sandy in 2012. The popular service created a Disaster Response Program shortly after. Airbnb is still waiving service fees for all affected by the recent terrorist attack in Barcelona.
“Collaborating with regional disaster relief organizations in advance of an event allows us to reach a broader audience and help more people during the actual event,” Airbnb states on its website. “That is why we are pleased to partner with local government agencies and disaster relief organizations to help the Airbnb community and the cities prepare for local emergencies.”
Hurricane Harvey is expected to make landfall on Texas Friday night or early Saturday morning. Cars filled the highways Thursday heading north to avoid the “life-threatening” rainfall. Some areas could get as much as 35 inches of rain, and many will get more than a foot. Wind gusts are expected to reach near 100 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
Many counties on the Texas coast are ordering thousands of people to evacuate. If you’d like to offer your place on Airbnb, you can head to the Hurricane Harvey webpage and select “I can offer my space for free.”
Phillip Tracy is a former technology staff writer at the Daily Dot. He's an expert on smartphones, social media trends, and gadgets. He previously reported on IoT and telecom for RCR Wireless News and contributed to NewBay Media magazine. He now writes for Laptop magazine.