Here's Where to Find Free Housing for Displaced Residents of Irma and Harvey
Rental and travel agencies are offering a helping hand to those in need in the hurricane-battered areas of Texas and Florida.
If there’s a silver lining in the aftermath of a hurricane, it’s the chance to witness the innumerable acts of kindness toward the people (and animals) affected by the storms. From a group of friends who rescued manatees from an eerily dry Sarasota Bay to the several hundreds who have opened their homes to strangers during and after the damage, neighbors near and far have offered support to their friends in Texas and Florida.Evacuees still in need of shelter can easily be connected with free housing, thanks to these three resources that make offering and finding stays seamless.
While this boutique travel agency typically specializes in planning luxury experiential vacations, the aftermath of Hurricane Irma prompted the company to put forth a selection of its retreats in Cape San Blas, Florida, to those in need. Three beautiful beach homes (shown above and top) along the Florida panhandle are available to displaced residents for one month for the cost of utilities and maintenance only. The homes, which sleep 10-14 and are all pet-friendly, are fully equipped with washers and dryers, WiFi, linens, and kitchen accessories (including outdoor grills). For information on how to reserve, contact Natural Retreats.
Relief efforts were a bit more personal for Texas-based rental company HomeAway, which also operates sites such as VRBO and VacationRentals.com. For the month of September, the company lifted all booking fees for those affected by the storms and encouraged its hosts to offer free or discounted rates. More than 100 homes are currently listed on the Hurricane Harvey relief page, including gems such as this one. For information on how to find housing, call 1-888-336-7713.
Related: What Do the Hurricane Categories Really Mean?
To aid in the evacuation and recovery efforts, Airbnb activated its disaster relief program (created to help people post-Sandy) in late August. The program allows current and new Airbnb hosts to offer up their rooms and homes (such as this one) to displaced residents in need of shelter, showers, and a place to sleep. Airbnb also waives their own fees, making the stays completely free of charge. More than 1,000 hosts from Texas to North Carolina (in addition to 24 hosts in the Caribbean) are currently signed up for the program, which runs through September 28. Those interested in booking a stay can visit airbnb.com.