Last week, Airbnb waived fees for users affected by Hurricane Sandy. It also encouraged hosts with listings in affected areas to lower their prices and take in those without food, power, or housing.
Now it’s taking its community aspect a step further. Partnering with NYC.gov and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the peer-to-peer home-sharing service is enabling users to offer up housing to Sandy-affected users for free. And it already has more than 100 places on the list.
Airbnb says it has more than 20,000 listings in areas affected by the storm, including New York, the Hamptons, Providence, New Haven, and Atlantic City. It’s already seen a huge number of last-minute booking in those areas — more than 2,500 since the storm hit. About 900 of those have been in New York City alone, and a third of those were local residents booking housing in someone else’s place in the city.
The partnership comes as Airbnb has sought to reach a peace with regulators and local governments over the ability of hosts to rent out apartments to guests. It also happens just a few weeks after it got a new government relations head from Yahoo. Getting an explicit partnership in place with the New York City government should go a long way toward helping the startup going forward as it faces regulatory scrutiny.