ATLANTA — Airbnb announced a plan to make 100,000 homes available to healthcare providers as they continue to work around the clock during the pandemic.

Speaking to 11Alive, Chris Lehane, Airbnb’s Senior VP of Policy, said the idea came from the hosts themselves in different parts of the world.

Hosts in Italy and France opened their rentals to nurses, doctors, janitors in need off a safe place close to their jobs. Airbnb then took the idea to the Italian and French governments for a partnership. Now, they plan to do the same in the U.S.

“We’ve done this at other times, like fires in Northern California and fires in Australia, but never at a global level,” said Lehane.

In the first hour and a half after the announcement, Lehane said 10,000 additional people signed up to be hosts.

“You’ve got people all over the world that want to help. They want to help their neighbors. They want to help their communities.”

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The idea is to get housing near where healthcare providers are working. The homes will be cleaned according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. Lehane said there’s already several thousand hosts in the Atlanta area.

The program is in the beginning stages, but Lehane said they plan to reach out to local governing and local hospitals to open applications to their healthcare providers. The plan is to get as many homes for free, with Airbnb absorbing all costs, although some hosts may opt to charge a few dollars to help with cleaning fees.

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The other option will be for homes to possibly be used for extra beds, should hospitals need it. Overall, Lehane said they hope to show up for any need the healthcare community needs.

“One of those needs right now is housing for those healthcare providers that is safe and secure, gets them on the frontlines, and it’s a way that protects their families and a way we can all contribute.”

To sign up to become a host or learn more about the program, visit Airbnb.com.

11Alive is focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus. We want to keep you informed about the latest developments while ensuring that we deliver confirmed, factual information.

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