Airbnb to continue offering free accommodation to domestic violence survivors 2 weeks ago

Airbnb to continue offering free accommodation to domestic violence survivors

Domestic violence is the leading cause of family homelessness.

Airbnb will continue to offer free accommodation to domestic violence survivors in Ireland.

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The company last year partnered with Safe Ireland and Women's Aid to assist survivors of domestic violence during the height of the pandemic when emergency accommodation was drastically needed.

Now, as the economy starts to open up, they have extended their partnership, as emergency refuge services are still operating with reduced capacity and there is still a considerable increase in demand. Airbnb has offered 2,000 nights of free accommodation since last June.

There has been a significant increase in calls made to both Safe Ireland and Women's Aid since the beginning of the pandemic, with the latter last year reporting a 60 percent increase in contact made to the charity.

Airbnb will work with its hotel partners to source temporary free accommodation for survivors where refuge is not available.

The safety needs of survivors will be addressed by domestic violence services before they are booked into the emergency accommodation, and they will remain closely linked with their designated services.

Mary McDermott, CEO of Safe Ireland said: “Domestic violence is the leading cause of family homelessness. The availability of safe, affordable and stable housing is fundamental not only to a woman’s ability to escape an abusive partner, but also to remain safe and independent."

Sarah Benson, CEO of Women’s Aid added: “Women’s Aid is delighted to know that this vital support to women and children is being extended by Airbnb.

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"The need and demand for creative responses to the needs of those subjected to domestic abuse is only increasing. Our 24hr National Freephone Helpline, which responded to 38% more calls between March and December 2020, acts as a direct referral point to a wide range of local and regional services and supports for women subjected to abuse all over Ireland, and we will continue to signpost callers in need of accommodation to all of the domestic violence services participating in this partnership.”