Airbnb adds donation tool for hosts to support temporary housing

Airbnb has launched a new feature called Donations that enables communities to help provide temporary housing for individuals who need it. The donation option is available to Airbnb hosts located in the United States, giving them the option to donate a small portion of the income they generate from rentals to support local housing needs.

In 2012, Airbnb enabled its hosts to offer free housing for people impacted by certain emergency situations, such as disasters, under the Open Homes program. Under that program, Airbnb says more than 25,000 people were provided with temporary housing. The company plans invest $20 million this year into growth and boosting contributions to non-profit partners.

The company's recently stated goal is to house 100,000 people by 2022, which Airbnb said will be accomplished, in part, with the new Donations feature. The tool gives hosts a way to contribute to emergency housing without having to directly offer free accommodation at their own rentals.

The funds received from donations will contribute toward offering emergency, temporary housing in places where free rentals under the Open Homes platform aren't available. A number of organizations already utilize the Open Homes program, including International Rescue Committee, Make-A-Wish Foundation, and All Hands and Hearts.

Airbnb crunched the numbers and found that a 1-percent donation from US hosts would result in enough donations to temporarily house 2 million people in 2019. Hosts located in the US have access to the donation feature starting today — 100-percent of donations are passed over to non-profit partners, according to the company.