Fires continue to burn across Australia. How can I help?
Over 3,700,000 hectares of Australia have burned during the 2019-2020 bushfires. While more than 2500 buildings (including 1300 houses) have been destroyed, owners of strata properties across New South Wales and Victoria have been left feeling helpless from their relative positions of safety.
If you have space in your apartment, however, you can make a dramatic difference to the lives of people directly affected by the fires.
Offer your apartment for free and temporary accommodation
Airbnb’s Open Homes: Disaster Relief page has links to offer your space as a donation to people who have nowhere else to go. These could be people who have lost their homes in the fires, those who have been evacuated, volunteer workers deployed to fire areas, people whose health is at immediate risk by staying home, and others in desperate need for accommodation.
Property owners in NSW and Victoria can use Airbnb’s disaster relief booking feature to list their homes or a room in their homes. This programme allows those in the position to offer free, temporary housing to those who need it.
What do you need?
All you need is a spare room or apartment, a comfortable bed, basic amenities and toiletries, and the ability to accommodate someone for at least two days in a row.
The current Airbnb programme for these states is running until 16 January 2020. It is likely to continue throughout the 2019-2020 summer bushfire season as necessary.
As a strata property owner, why is your help important?
If you have a strata property and already host Airbnb guests, this provides an excellent opportunity to use the platform that gives you an income to give back to that same community that supports you financially.
What about displaced animals?
In the midst of a disaster like the one we’re experiencing, it’s not just people who are affected. Their animals are too. Find A Bed has set up a programme to assist with fire victims who need accommodation for their pets too.
Find A Bed isn’t running a large commercial operation like Airbnb however, so the same screening and insurance protections aren’t offered. This programme is more informal: the website will put you in direct touch (usually by phone) with someone who needs a place to stay that matches what you can offer. You can then make a decision about accepting accommodation for that person and their animals if they have them.
Will my strata manager be OK with me helping out during the fires?
As always, follow your strata by-laws when it comes to Airbnb-style renting and pets in apartments. As this is an emergency situation, normal rules around guests and pets may be flexible. You should speak directly to your strata manager to find out what your options are.