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Airbnb Partners With Cities For Disaster Preparedness 55

Posted by Soulskill
from the going-wrong-the-right-way dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Every time a city- or state-wide disaster strikes, services to help the victims slowly crop up over the following days and weeks. Sometimes they work well, sometimes they don't. Today, city officials in San Francisco and Portland announced a partnership with peer-to-peer lodging service Airbnb to work out some disaster-preparedness plans ahead of time. Airbnb will locate hosts in these cities who will commit to providing a place to stay for people who are displaced in a disaster, and then set up alerts and notifications to help people find these hosts during a crisis. The idea is that if wildfires or an earthquake forces thousands of people to evacuate their homes, they can easily be absorbed into an organized, distributed group of willing hosts, rather than being shunted to one area and forced to live in a school gymnasium or something similar.
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Airbnb Partners With Cities For Disaster Preparedness

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  • O RLY? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by BlueStrat (756137) on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @02:36AM (#47563843)

    Today, city officials in San Francisco and Portland announced a partnership with peer-to-peer lodging service Airbnb to work out some disaster-preparedness plans ahead of time.

    As opposed to trying to shut them down, along with the various ride-sharing services, as we've seen them try in recent times? Ride-sharing could work the same way in transporting disaster victims/refugees.

    I wonder what other services the government might want to shut down that could be helpful in a disaster ::cough::quadcopter drones::cough::?

    Good to see at least some in government aren't totally blinded by monied interests intent on stifling the advance of technology to preserve obsolete businesses and business models.

    Strat

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It is good that people can leave their homes at a moments notice to rent them to disaster victims.

      In this week new a quadrocopter was flying over a forest fire to take pictures. The fire fighting plages an helicopters needed to be warned about it. Take care of that cough.

    • by DRJlaw (946416)

      I wonder what other services the government might want to shut down that could be helpful in a disaster ::cough::quadcopter drones::cough::?

      Or me, with my handy-dandy M60 machine gun, ready to volunteer to keep law and order and suppress the roaming post-apocalyptic mobs!!

      The mere fact that you can think of a use for a resource in an emergency does not mean that you throw-out all non-emergency regulations.

      My house would be useful for housing refugees. That doesn't mean that you want me running it as a 24/7

  • Since the first, second and fourth amendments have already been assaulted and cut-back in the USA, it's probably just a matter of time before the third amendment gets assaulted too.

    Most of our already-lost rights seem to have been erased under the banner of "emergency planning", so this would seem like a logical place for the breach on our third amendment rights.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by 91degrees (207121)
      Well, this is not about quartering soldiers, nor is it without the consent of the owner.
      • by Lumpy (12016)

        for now.

        • by 91degrees (207121)
          Armies are quite capable of supporting themselves these days. They don't need to requisition houses, especially not those in the US, where they have huge military basis.
    • by Ixokai (443555) on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @03:25AM (#47563953)

      The fiction that our second amendment rights are "under assault" is a kind of strange delusion bordering on mass hysteria that has no relationship to reality. Across the country gun rights are soundly trumping any attempt at sensible gun safety regulation.

      • by BlueStrat (756137)

        The fiction that our second amendment rights are "under assault" is a kind of strange delusion bordering on mass hysteria that has no relationship to reality. Across the country gun rights are soundly trumping any attempt at sensible gun safety regulation.

        Michael Bloomberg, is that you?

        Strat

      • by peragrin (659227)

        Some of the gun regulations they have proposed though have been far from sensible. In many cases a squirt gun(you know that shoots water at less pressure than your sink) could be built to fail them requiring regulation for it.

        Assault weapon bans are bans on things that look like Assault rifles but aren't. As for who gets guns we have tons of laws already but it is such a mishmash that it can be bypassed. Sort of like how the companies can bypass the IRS taxes by shuffling money around.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Across the country gun rights are soundly trumping any attempt at sensible gun safety regulation.

        Across the country, attempts at eliminating gun rights are soundly trumping any attempt at sensible gun safety regulation.

      • by Wycliffe (116160)

        The fiction that our second amendment rights are "under assault" is a kind of strange delusion bordering on mass hysteria that has no relationship to reality. Across the country gun rights are soundly trumping any attempt at sensible gun safety regulation.

        That's your perspective. You openly admitted that they are "attempting" to regulate guns though. The "pro-gun" people on the other end see any attempts to regulate as a form of attack. The more regulations there are on guns then the less useful the second amendment is. The second amendment is not there so people can kill a squirrel. The second amendment is there so people can defend themself if the government starts violating all their other rights. Honestly, I don't know how useful it is anymore thou

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        Same as the delusion that strict anti- gun laws make a difference... See Chicago for an example of this as a failure.

  • by Jesrad (716567) on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @03:44AM (#47563995) Journal

    This is awesome on many levels for anyone with a keen understanding of transaction costs, and the effect of the internet on these costs.

    Will they partner with Uber and set up special-case emergency pickup and relocation of disaster victims too ? It would be amazing I could take a complementary insurance to cover for that.

  • by rlh100 (695725) on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @04:53AM (#47564129) Homepage

    This is a great idea. Getting people to think about opening their homes in times of a disaster before the disaster happens. Sort of like the organ donation sticker on your drivers license.

    Having a database of people who are willing to open their homes in a disaster and what their parameters for guests are would be invaluable. I am a single older man so I would be willing to have other single older men stay with me as well as a family or a couple. What Airbnb is proposing is using their tools to help disaster relief agencies create a database of places for people to stay. Probably of limited use the night of the disaster, but useful for the next two weeks.

    This is an interesting step forward for disaster relief agencies learning how to use social media. Airbnb is willing to help this happen. While it is good PR for Airbnb, it is also a great way for them to give back to the community.

    • by profplump (309017)

      Demographic restrictions are doom for a plan like this. There's a reason we don't allow housing discrimination and I don't see why we'd want to suspend those rules in an emergency; if anything they seem more important when people are in desperate need.

      • > There's a reason we don't allow housing discrimination and I don't see why we'd want to suspend those rules in an emergency;

        Actually you CAN choose who you want to live with. If GP feels comfortable living with an older man, that's his choice. Fair housing laws apply when you rent out an otherwise empty structure - when they are just getting a house from you, not living WITH you.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      This is a great idea. Getting people to think about opening their homes in times of a disaster before the disaster happens. Sort of like the organ donation sticker on your drivers license.

      I don't have an organ donation sticker because there have been paramedics who have outright announced that they don't work as hard to save donors. I will continue to not donate until this is no longer true. If I were to join an organ donation scheme it would involve reciprocity. I might well, although I forget the name of the one I liked the look of, and of course the google results are all scientific papers. They must not have paid google for ad placement, so it's not coming up at all.

      • by Wycliffe (116160)

        there have been paramedics who have outright announced that they don't work as hard to save donors.

        #1) I doubt in many cases a paramedic even knows.
        #2) Why would this be the case? An organ donor needs to be on life support to be useful in most cases.
        #3) Keeping you on life support longer for being a organ donor seems to make it more likely that you might survive not less.

        This is plain old FUD. Name one good reason that a doctor, paramedic, etc.. would try to hasten the death of an organ donor
        or not work as hard to save someone who is an organ donor. The only logically reason I can think of is bribe

  • I am glad that someone is thinking about disaster aid but the most neglected problem is the potential for a severe hurricane in highly crowded areas. South Florida can not be evacuated. We have at least 4 million people and very few highways as a way out. After a storm getting food and water and medical supplies into south Florida is not always possible. Imagine the storage required to feed this large population and the equipment it takes to get food out to the people. Trees cover the streets f
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      I am glad that someone is thinking about disaster aid but the most neglected problem is the potential for a severe hurricane in highly crowded areas. South Florida can not be evacuated.

      If it's not safe in the event of a disaster, then it's not safe now. Therefore, we should be evacuating it now, at least down to a reasonable level of population. You know those maximum capacity numbers that get written inside of businesses? Florida should have one, too.

  • I saw a story last week of an AirBnB "issue" Palm Springs Airbnb 'squatter' protected under law [desertsun.com]. In CA, if a person stays in your house for longer than 30 days they are recognized as a tenant. At which point all sorts of tenant protection laws kick in, and the only way to remove them is to start a lengthy legal process.

    I'd say its nigh on impossible to circumvent laws like this in CA while still keeping your house as a private home. So I see jumping into AirBnB arrangements without understanding the lega

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      "the only way to remove them is to start a lengthy legal process."

      You mean the only LEGAL way.. I have friends that will remove them within hours for only a case of beer and gas money.

  • I have to admire this strategy to wrap AirBnB in the banner of helping disaster victims. Besides being a valuable service for those victims and great PR for the company, it gives them a very effective argument to counter the rent-seeking behavior of the industry they're displacing and to attack enabling bureaucrats and politicians with ("Joe Smith wants to deny aid to disaster victims. Vote Mary Doaks for City Council.") I hope Uber is watching and learning from this.

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