A group of activists from the Coalition on Homelessness took over Airbnb headquarters in the SOMA neighborhood of San Francisco this afternoon to protest what they believe is a company at the root cause of evictions and homelessness in the city.
Airbnb has added the lion’s share (more than $8 million) into defeating Proposition F, a proposal some believe is hiking up the rent in SF and converting a bunch of needed housing into bed and breakfasts, instead. Prop F, which goes up for a vote tomorrow, would limit to 75 the amount of days Airbnb hosts could rent out their properties per year.
Airbnb took a rather tone-deaf approach to marketing against this proposal, putting up billboards and bus station ads about public services use of hotel tax money – inferring these services were profiting off of Airbnb’s hotel tax payments.
Coalition activists started putting up photos, videos and posts about the protest today with the hashtags #dearAirbnb and #Citynot4sale.
Some of those live tweets showed protestors releasing helium balloons with paper houses on them referencing the embarrassing advertising campaign into the Airbnb main entrance.
The Coalition also brought along a brass band to help make some noise and call attention to its cause.
San Francisco is in the midst of a rent crisis, with the average one bedroom unit hitting approximately $3500 per month in the first half of 2015 (later reports are wildly debated, but some put the average at $4225).
Owners of rental units have been accused of profiting off of evicting rent-controlled tenants in order to cash in on the skyrocketing rent prices in the city.
“Eviction is the driving force of homelessness,” Jennifer Friedenbach from the Coalition on Homelessness is credited with saying at the rally.