Airbnb, SEIU strike deal to provide housing for ‘frontline’ COVID-19 workers
On World Health Day, nurses get the recognition they deserve. Image via Twitter.

nurse
Free places to stay for health care workers.

Members of the 1199SEIU Healthcare Workers East labor union who need a place away from home to safely reside while caring for COVID-19 patients can get free stays through Airbnb in an arrangement announced Tuesday.

Under the arrangement, Airbnb’s “Frontline stays” program, activated earlier this month, will provide free stays for members of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East who are working on the coronavirus front lines in New York, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., Massachusetts, Maryland, and Florida.

1199SEIU is the largest health care union in the nation. Airbnb is the nation’s largest vacation rental home marketing platform.

In Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has banned vacation rental home lodging, except for emergency and health care workers. The Frontline stays program qualifies under that exception.

“I appreciate that Airbnb, its hosts and SEIU formed this all-important partnership. 1199SEIU members, who are putting their lives a risk everyday to help keep us safe and healthy, deserve the peace of mind provided by safe and clean housing between shifts,” Democratic Rep. Shevrin Jones West Park stated in a news release.

Airbnb also announced Tuesday that it will work with the State of New York to support front line workers who have requested housing from the state, offering at least 2,000 hotel rooms through May 31 to these workers via the Airbnb platform and HotelTonight [part of the Airbnb family.]

“1199ers are working hard on the frontlines, fighting to protect their patients from the ravages of COVID-19. Through this partnership with Airbnb, they will have a safe place to rest between their shifts, so they are able to continue to provide quality care to the patents who so desperately need it,” George Gresham, president of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, stated in the release.

To help fund these Frontline stays, Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky will commit $2 million of his personal funds toward this effort, to ensure that the hotel rooms and short-term rental stays will be provided at no cost to medical first responders.

“We’re honored to be partnering with SEIU to support the many courageous 1199SEIU members who are on the frontlines battling this crisis in communities across Florida,” Tom Martinelli, Florida policy director for Airbnb stated in the release. “This partnership will help ensure these heroes receive the housing they need to continue saving lives.”

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected]



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