More than 300 Airbnb hosts have offered their homes for nothing to support the Grenfell Tower relief effort.
As of Wednesday afternoon, 315 London properties were listed for free on a special section of the website. They are being made available to British Red Cross staff and volunteers supporting the homeless and bereaved.
At least 79 people died and many more were left homeless after last week’s catastrophic blaze. Prime Minister Theresa May apologised for the response to the disaster on Wednesday, admitting it was a “failure of the state.”
Airbnb called for other hosts to join the aid efforts after the Red Cross “identified an urgent accommodation need for volunteers.”
In a blog, it explained: “Airbnb is looking for London hosts who are willing to open their homes for free to Red Cross staff and volunteers, who are working around the clock to support those affected by the fire.”
Using the Airbnb Disaster Tool, relief workers will be guided through the booking process to reassure hosts that their home is “going to someone who needs it.” The list of free properties is here.
It comes as May identified failings in the relief effort. Speaking in Parliament on Wednesday, she said:
“Let me be absolutely clear: Support on the ground for families in the initial hours was not good enough. People were left without belongings, without roofs over their heads, without even basic information about what had happened, what they should do, and where they could seek help.”
“That was a failure of the state, local and national, to help people when they needed it most. As prime minister, I apologise for that failure, and as prime minister I’ve taken responsibility for doing what we can to put things right.”
May has already ordered a public inquiry into the disaster. “We need to know what happened. We need to have an explanation for this. We owe that to the families, to the people who have lost loved ones, friends, and the homes in which they lived,” she said last week. “People deserve answers. The inquiry will give them.”