Airbnb partners with PH private sector to provide space for frontliners

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Booking site Airbnb has announced that it is expanding its global “Frontline Stays” initiative to assist Covid-19 frontliners in the Philippines through a partnership with the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF).

Photo credit: Dr. Estelita S. Corpuz of the Manila City Health Department

The program’s launch in the Philippines is expected to roll out this April and will be a joint effort between Airbnb and Filipino hosts, aiming to provide healthcare staff and frontliners with safe and convenient places to stay while they carry out their critical work.

PDRF, through partner hospitals such as St. Luke’s Medical Center Global City, the Medical City, and Makati Medical Center, will also help pinpoint priority areas by identifying health workers in need of temporary housing. Moreover, PDRF partner company Unilever will be donating disinfectant kits for hosts who sign up for the program and house healthcare workers.

Airbnb said it is also exploring working with other local civil society and non-profit organizations to garner support for the initiative. Airbnb hosts in the Philippines who wish to open their homes and be a part of the program can sign up at airbnb.com/covid19relief.

Following the global launch of Frontline Stays, Airbnb’s community of hosts has offered 100,000 places to stay for people responding to the pandemic. Through this program, frontline staff can book both free and paid stays in 160 countries and regions.

Airbnb will continue to waive all fees for the first 100,000 stays booked through this program. Hosts can also opt into the program and have the option of opening their homes for free through Airbnb’s Open Homes platform, created in 2012 to meet the needs of people requiring emergency housing. Hosts who open their homes for free to house frontliners will receive a cleaning subsidy for each stay.

The Philippines is the latest country to roll out a local program in Asia-Pacific, following local “Frontline Stays” launches in Thailand, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand.

Airbnb’s Frontline Stays initiative has been launched with the support of medical organizations around the world such as the National Health Service in the UK, Sutter Health in California, the Ministry of Housing in France and Barcelona Official Doctors Association.

Frontline Stays has also been expanded so that individual responders can book directly on the Airbnb platform, allowing hosts to help even more people who are in immediate need. Airbnb will be working with businesses, nonprofits and government and emergency management agencies supporting these healthcare staff and first responders.

“From floods to earthquakes and other natural disasters, the Airbnb community has a long history of providing accommodation to those in need when the worst happens. Amid this global pandemic, we at Airbnb recognize that medical workers are at the forefront of saving lives and we are committed to working with our community to do whatever we can to support them”, said Mike Orgill, general manager for Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan at Airbnb.

“We’ve been inspired by the Bayanihan spirit of Filipino hosts and nonprofits who have reached out to us seeking ways to support frontliners. In light of the Enhanced Community Quarantine, we’re glad to be working closely with the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation to do what we can collectively to provide a comforting home to our local heroes who are putting themselves at risk for us every day.”

“Our healthcare workers are among the true heroes of the Covid-19 crisis; they risk their lives every day. Providing temporary housing near their hospital is another way we can support them. I want to thank Airbnb for their generosity and look forward to a strengthened partnership in Covid-19 response,” said Butch Meily, president of PDRF.

Noting that accommodation for relief and medical workers who have higher exposure to Covid-19 requires robust preventive practices and stringent safety standards, Airbnb said it is working with experts and officials to develop a protocol for hosts who support this collective health effort. The protocol will be updated to incorporate new requirements from local and national authorities and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Examples of safe hosting recommendations include listing entire homes and agreeing to a number of safety requirements including enhanced cleaning, social distancing with their guests, and allowing 72 hours between stays. Airbnb’s partners or affiliates will ensure that stays are Covid-19 related and responders are familiar with safety protocols.

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