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Airbnb Provides Free Housing for Volcano Evacuees

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© Getty Images Hawaii Volcano Lava Damage

By Lyndsey Matthews, House Beautiful

To help provide a more home-like environment for the 2,000 people who have been forced to evacuate after the Big Island's Kilauea volcano erupted on May 3, Airbnb has asked its hosts to provide them with free temporary housing through May 31, the Honolulu Star Advertiser reports. They're also encouraging hosts to extend the offer to disaster relief workers in the area, too.

When Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano erupted over two weeks ago, a river of molten lava gushed into the Big Island’s Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens subdivision, forcing around 2,000 residents to evacuate the volcano’s East Rift Zone as it destroyed 40 buildings in the area.

More than 300 residents have been staying in three different shelters on the island, and many others have been staying at hotels or on their friends and family’s couches elsewhere for the past two weeks, per the Associated Press. Even worse for the displaced residents, the fissures show no signs of stopping any time soon, as the lava races towards the ocean at a rate of about 300 yards per hour.

Airbnb is encouraging hosts in Hawaii County area unaffected by the volcano “to aid in this effort by listing their available rooms or homes on the platform to help those who have been impacted and to relief workers offering their assistance on the ground,” Kellie Bentz, Airbnb’s head of Global Disaster Response and Relief, told the Honolulu Star Advertiser.

So far, 12 hosts have signed up to offer their homes up for free according to Airbnb’s Kilauea Eruption page. To find free shelter or to sign up your own home, visit airbnb.com/welcome/evacuees/bigisland.

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