US

Airbnb’s ‘Open Homes Program’ Frees Over 800 Homes for Displaced Neighbors and Relief Workers

By Victor Westerkamp

Airbnb has started its “Open Homes Program” once again. It has made more than 800 homes available for free, for sheltering evacuees and deployed rescue workers as hurricaneDorian” approaches.

The project lasts through Sept. 16 and offers shelter to displaced locals and relief workers in several states in the southwest: Florida, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina.

Monday, Sept. 2, marked Dorian’s first stop on American soil. In Florida alone, 31 homes were made available in St. Petersburg, Tampa, Tallahassee, and Miami-Dade, News & Observer reported.

Kellie Bentz, Airbnb’s head of global disaster response and relief said, “Airbnb’s Open Homes Program continues to be activated for those affected by Hurricane Dorian across the southeast U.S. region,” according to the outlet. “We encourage hosts to open up their homes, and those who need housing to take advantage of the program.”

Hurricane Dorian in Bahamas
A road is flooded during the passing of Hurricane Dorian in Freeport, Grand Bahama, Bahamas, on Sept. 2, 2019. (Tim Aylen/AP Photo)

The program started in 2012 after Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on the East Coast. It is entirely voluntary-based and has been expanding consistently with the growing number of typhoons smashing the coast in recent years.

For those interested; please, visit the Airbnb website. You will find dozens of listings available in Charlotte, Raleigh, Durham, Greensboro, and Winston-Salem.

Hurricane Dorian Stalls Over Bahamas, Moving West Extremely Slowly: NHC

Category 5 Hurricane Dorian has effectively stalled over Grand Bahama Island in the Bahamas, hammering it with 160 mph winds, said U.S. forecasters in a 10 a.m. update on Monday, Sept. 2.

According to the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC), the storm is moving extremely slowly—at 1 mph—to the west and is about 115 miles east of West Palm Beach, Florida. It is still 30 miles east-northeast of Freeport, the largest city in the Grand Bahamas.

The probability of tropical-storm-force winds issued at 5 a.m. EDT, Sept. 2 (NHC)

The latest cone of probability shows Dorian moving precariously close to Florida’s east coast by Tuesday morning before moving north along the southeastern coast of the United States.

In an 8 a.m. update, the NHC said a “slow westward to west-northwestward motion is forecast during the next day or so, followed by a gradual turn toward the northwest and north.”

“On this track,” it added, “the core of extremely dangerous Hurricane Dorian will continue to pound Grand Bahama Island through much of today and tonight. The hurricane will move dangerously close to the Florida east coast tonight through Wednesday evening.”

Mandatory evacuations have been issued for a number of coastal areas in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp ordered mandatory evacuations for his state’s entire coastline several hours later, The Associated Press reported.

Epoch Times reporter Jack Phillips contributed to this report