Airbnb to offer accommodation to those fleeing domestic abuse

Company partnering with Safe Ireland and Women’s Aid for the new initiative

Airbnb is partnering with Safe Ireland and Women’s Aid for the initiative

Airbnb is partnering with Safe Ireland and Women’s Aid for the initiative

 

Airbnb has partnered with Safe Ireland and Women’s Aid to assist those experiencing domestic violence by providing somewhere to stay when emergency accommodation is unavailable.

The short-stay accommodation provider said it will work through its hotel partners to provide somewhere to stay free of charge for those who cannot find a place at a refuge.

The move comes amid a surge in calls to domestic violence services around the country following the Covid-19 crisis. Currently, capacity in refuges is down about 25 per cent because of the need to ensure safe social distancing and to allow for isolation units.

Safe Ireland, the national policy and services hub for 39 domestic abuse member services, is to coordinate the initiative with added support from the Women’s Aid national freephone helpline.

All accommodation costs are to be sourced and paid for by Airbnb and its subsidiary, HotelTonight.

“The pandemic has shone a light onto the epidemic of domestic violence that continues in this country. It has also sparked an incredible outpouring of empathy, understanding and support for survivors trapped with abusers,” said Caitriona Gleeson, programme and communications manager with Safe Ireland

“The security of safe accommodation is essential for women and children to be able to make their first step towards freedom and recovery. This generous contribution by Airbnb means that we will be able to support many more women as they come forward following lockdown,” she added.

Domestic violence

Similar initiatives have been rolled out by Airbnb in the US, where the company has worked with organisations to provide no-cost accommodation to domestic violence survivors in Sacramento, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

“In recent months throughout the pandemic, most of us have been confined to the safety of our homes. For those in abusive situations however, that environment can feel more like a prison. We are proud to support the heroic efforts of Women’s Aid, Safe Ireland and local frontline services by offering temporary safe havens for survivors right across the country,” said Jean Hoey, public policy lead for Airbnb in Ireland.

The company, which also recently introduced an initiative to help house 100,000 healthcare professionals globally during the Covid-19 crisis, last month announced plans to cut 1,900 job globally because of coronavirus. This includes an estimated 35 per cent of its workforce in Dublin.

The company employs about 350 people here with 190 jobs expected to go.