ATLANTA — Millions of people, including residents of Georgia’s coast, are now under mandatory, emergency evacuation orders.
Families seeking campsites, hotels, shelters, hospitality from relatives are making their way inland and away from Dorian. And some are finding Airbnb homes and hosts who are offering a “hurricane special” to evacuees and to disaster relief workers. The deal - up to two weeks - for nothing.
The evacuees won't have to worry about price-gouging - not when the emergency housing they are finding offers all the five-star comforts of home - for free.
Paulette Rolle-Alesnik is one of more than 1,100 Airbnb hosts, so far, refusing to take a dime from Dorian evacuees.
“I’m like, 'hey, let’s just do this.' You know?" she said. "Let’s just help people.”
Rolle-Alesnik is part of Airbnb’s emergency “Open Homes” program, activated again, this past weekend, with hosts across the southeastern U.S. volunteering their homes for free for evacuees and disaster relief workers until Sept. 16.
"Cities like Atlanta that are welcoming these evacuees, we certainly are grateful,” said Kellie Bentz, the director of Airbnb's Global Disaster Response and Relief Program.
Bentz told 11Alive News on Monday that this activation of the “Open Homes” program for Dorian evacuees is one of Airbnb’s largest ever for a natural disaster.
“So, for Airbnb, ‘Open Homes’ is core to our DNA," she said. "We really believe that this is part of our mission of belonging, to those who need it most and in their greatest time of need.”
For Rolle-Alesnik, she had to be part of this - to offer her home for free - because, she says, her Bible teaches hospitality to all.
“They can’t stay in the rain," she said. “So the Bible says, be open-minded and be ready to entertain, because you can entertain angels unaware.”
A Biblical response - to a disaster of potentially Biblical proportions.
For hosts wanting to offer their homes for free during Dorian and whenever there are other emergencies, they can visit www.airbnb.com/openhomes.
For hosts and evacuees wanting to sign up now, they can visit www.airbnb.com/welcome/evacuees/dorianmainland.