Airbnb Ireland gives free accommodation for domestic violence survivors

Ireland: Airbnb has announced a partnership with Safe Ireland, the national policy hub for domestic services, to provide free housing to domestic violence survivors.

The company will work through a variety of accommodation partners to provide support specialist emergency housing, at a time when the global pandemic has reduced the amount of available refuge space.

Much of the currently available spaces do not fit proper social distancing requirements, removing the 25 per cent country’s total stock of refuges. This lack of space is made worse as the country is receiving more domestic violence related calls due to loosening lockdown.

Catriona Gleeson, programme and communications manager for Safe Ireland, said: “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.”

The partnership between Airbnb Ireland, Safe Ireland, and Womens’ Aid hopes to provide holistic solutions to the problem. While Airbnb and its subsidiary, HotelTonight, will provide accommodation, Safe Ireland will coordinate the frontline services part of the initiative while using the Women’s Aid National Freephone Helpline as a point of first contact.

Josepha Madigan, TD and minister for culture, heritage and the Gaeltacht, said: “We want victims of this horrific crime to know that they are a priority for us, and that support is always available. I welcome this valuable new initiative which complements the important work that the Government has undertaken in this area since the start of the pandemic.

“We are doing everything we can to protect and support all victims of domestic violence, especially now as Ireland re-opens after Covid-19.”

Airbnb created a similar initiative in the us this may, helping to support victims in California. The company has been attempting to stabilise its business in the post-Covid landscape, with some saying it may still do an IPO this year.

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