MAY 28, 2019 9:05 AM PDT

Free Housing for Cancer Patients: Airbnb's "Game Changer"

WRITTEN BY: Julia Travers

Cancer patients who meet certain requirements can now stay in some of Airbnb rentals for free, thanks to an expansion of Airbnb’s Open Homes for Medical Stays program. This initiative is part of Airbnb’s larger Open Homes initiative, which gives people around the world a place to live temporarily, when they are struggling, “Whether it’s newlyweds who lost their home in a wildfire, a cancer patient who needs to be closer to specialty care, or a family fleeing conflict in their home country… ”

The Open Homes for Medical Stays program launched in 2018 and gives Airbnb hosts the option of opening their homes freely to people who need to travel for medical treatment and recovery. Airbnb is now collaborating with the Cancer Support Community and the Bone Marrow and Cancer Foundation to help out more cancer patients through the program. These organizations both serve people with cancer  and will now be able to connect them with the Airbnb service. Also, to address cases in which Airbnb’s free Open Homes rentals are booked or unavailable, the company has granted more than $1.2 million in grants to the groups to aid patients with travel costs.

Rental room, credit: public domain

"We know that the cost of temporary accommodations can be a major barrier to receiving treatment for critical illnesses," Joe Gebbia, co-founder and chief product officer of Airbnb, said.

To participate, patients must meet criteria relating to travel distance and income. And, the treatment and travel needs must be verified and signed in the program application by a medical professional like a nurse, oncologist or medical social worker. Medical stays typically last between five days and two weeks.

family in a bed, credit: public domain

"The Cancer Support Community fields thousands of calls from individuals who are struggling to cover the cost of traveling for treatments, scans, clinical trials and other medically necessary care," said Cancer Support Community CEO Kim Thiboldeaux said. He calls Airbnb’s support “a game-changer.”

Approximately 2,000 people have now used the Open Homes for Medical Stays offerings. Throughout the entire Open Homes initiative, Airbnb aims to temporarily house about 100,000 people by 2022.

Sources: Airbnb, WebMD

About the Author
  • Julia Travers is a writer, artist and teacher. She frequently covers science, tech, conservation and the arts. She enjoys solutions journalism. Find more of her work at jtravers.journoportfolio.com.
You May Also Like
SEP 14, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
Why Defects in One Gene Can Lead to Cancer in Kids
SEP 14, 2020
Why Defects in One Gene Can Lead to Cancer in Kids
While they may occur in adults, a rare, aggressive type of brain cancer called atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumors tend to ...
SEP 18, 2020
Cancer
Itraconazole: the key is in the dosage
SEP 18, 2020
Itraconazole: the key is in the dosage
Precision medicine specific to a patient’s genetics or immune system is spearheading new paths of cancer treatment ...
SEP 21, 2020
Cancer
The Protein ETV1 May Act as a Biomarker for Gastrointestinal Cancer
SEP 21, 2020
The Protein ETV1 May Act as a Biomarker for Gastrointestinal Cancer
Cancer is an incredibly diverse disease. It has many types and even sub-types, with a vast range of characteristics. Som ...
SEP 23, 2020
Cancer
Can Increased Pain Indicate Oral Cancer?
SEP 23, 2020
Can Increased Pain Indicate Oral Cancer?
The human body has many ways of letting you know something is wrong. It can send signals to tell you that you are hungry ...
NOV 02, 2020
Immunology
New Cancer Drug Reboots Stalled Immunotherapies
NOV 02, 2020
New Cancer Drug Reboots Stalled Immunotherapies
In contrast to traditional chemotherapies, immunotherapies reprogram the patient’s own immune system to fight tumo ...
NOV 23, 2020
Cancer
Where are the geographic hotspots of high mortality rates for women with colorectal cancer?
NOV 23, 2020
Where are the geographic hotspots of high mortality rates for women with colorectal cancer?
A study published in Clinical and Translational Gastroenterology highlights the risk disparities in death rates fro ...
Loading Comments...