Hurricane Harvey Evacuees can Connect with Airbnb Hosts Offering Free Housing

A sign reading "Be Nice Harvey" was left behind on a boarded up business, Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017, in Port Aransas, Texas. Port Aransas is under a mandatory evacuation for Hurricane Harvey. Harvey intensified into a hurricane Thursday and steered for the Texas coast.

A sign reading "Be Nice Harvey" was left behind on a boarded up business, Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017, in Port Aransas, Texas. Port Aransas is under a mandatory evacuation for Hurricane Harvey. Harvey intensified into a hurricane Thursday and steered for the Texas coast.

Home-sharing service Airbnb is encouraging its hosts in safe, inland parts of Texas to open their available rooms or homes for residents evacuating coastal areas and emergency relief workers needing temporary accommodations.

The company has activated its disaster response program that will connect those seeking temporary, safe housing with Airbnb hosts in the San Antonio, Austin and Dallas areas through Sept. 1.

The program began in 2012 in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and has grown into a global disaster response initiative, the company said.

"We encourage hosts in safe, inland areas to aid in this effort by listing their available rooms or homes on the platform to help the growing number of evacuees," Airbnb''s head of global disaster response and relief said in a statement. "Our thoughts continue to be with everyone in the path of the storm, and we thank the dedicated government and emergency response personnel who are keeping our communities safe."