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Local Airbnb hosts opening homes for free to Hurricane Michael evacuees, relief volunteers

Airbnb's Open Homes Program encourages hosts to open their homes to people forced to evacuate from their homes in connection with Hurricane Michael, as well as relief workers arriving to provide assistance.

LAKELAND, Fla. – It could be awhile before people forced to evacuate from their homes in the path of Hurricane Michael can return.

Until then, many local Airbnb hosts are opening their houses to those in need instead of cashing in under the rental site's Open Homes Program.

From now until Oct. 29, $0 listings can be found in communities in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina.

More: Here's how to help those impacted by Hurricane Michael

In the Bay area, Airbnb expanded the program to listings in Pinellas, Hillsborough and Polk counties.

"I love the whole idea of hospitality and just producing good in the world," said Paulette Rolle-Alesnik, who is foregoing her $50 per night room rate at her Lakeland home.

"I feel blessed enough to be able to offer my space, to say, ‘Hey I can do this for you.’”

Last year, she put up evacuees from Hurricane Harvey and then took in several out-of-state relief workers after Hurricane Irma.

She didn't think twice about doing it again.

“Right away I was online like, ‘Yeah, I want to do this," she said.

The program began in 2012 after Hurricane Sandy. Hosts interested in listing their properties for free, or people seeking shelter can click here to view listings.

According to Airbnb's site, more than 900 hosts have opened their homes to evacuees for free.

For Rolle-Alesnik, she finds purpose in providing people a place to stay.

“I mean, it disturbs your life a little bit but this is how I see it: What is it to give up four or five nights of sleep and being consistent compared to somebody who has nowhere to go, somebody that’s coming from states away just to help," she said.

Current area included in Airbnb Open Homes Program

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