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    The power of a place to stay- one year of Frontline stays

    Meet a few of the hosts who signed up to host COVID-19 responders.
    By Airbnb on Mar 23, 2021
    4 min read
    Updated Apr 7, 2021


    • It’s been one year since Airbnb launched Frontline stays.

    • Hosts around the world opened up their doors to provide stays for COVID-19 responders.

    It’s been one year since Airbnb launched Frontline stays. Meet a few of the hosts who signed up in the early days of COVID-19 to offer a home to frontline workers.

    Justin and Erika

    “I feel really grateful that we had an opportunity to feel like we were part of trying to make things better,” says Justin, a Frontline stays host in Portland. “It was such a hard time -- you felt like you wanted to do something, and you just didn’t know what to do.”

    In the first weeks of March 2020, Justin and Erika knew that the need to isolate could hit close to home. On a socially distanced run with his brother, Justin offered their empty place to him and coworkers at the firehouse in case they needed a place to stay to protect their families from exposure. But as they ran, the brothers realized that need would go way beyond their own family.

    “We knew essential workers had a risk at their places of employment, and could bring the virus home,” says Erika, Justin’s wife and co-host. “So we were trying to think of an isolation strategy for them given the closures. It was this idea of, how can we help on a larger scale?”

    Justin and Erika hosted five frontline workers for a total of 59 free nights. They made themselves available for questions, stocked the fridge with local Pacific Northwest beers, and gave their guests plenty of space to rest.

    Their first Frontline stays guest booked on Mother’s Day. Juanita worked in an operating room and had slept in her van for 11 weeks to protect her two young children and her sister who was 8 months pregnant.

    “At the end of the day we just wanted them to feel comfortable and at home, like it was a little bit of an oasis or a respite from what we were assuming were pretty hard, long, stressful, scary days,” says Justin.


    “It just felt pretty Armageddon-like in the UK, like we were watching some sort of horror story unfold,” says Sal, a Frontline stays host.

    In March of 2020, like millions of people around the world, Sal was feeling the impact of COVID-19. She wasn’t sure when she’d see her family in the UK again, and one of her best friends was about to give birth to a baby she longed to meet. But even as the lockdowns began, her day to day life in Switzerland felt grounded, sprinkled with moments of delight. Her husband began to work from home. They exercised in the fresh air during the hours they were allowed to go out. She cycled with her two little girls through the countryside, savoring a rare abundance of family time.

    “We had this survivor's guilt,” says Sal. “We were talking to friends and family back home and feeling like ‘God, it just isn’t that bad for us, and what can we do?’”

    Sal and her husband have a house in the UK where they host Airbnb guests. When she learned about Frontline stays, it seemed like a natural way to give back.

    They were able to immediately make a difference in their own community. Their first guest was Heidi, a nurse who lived close to their listing and worked overnight shifts with COVID-19 patients in the ICU. Her father had a heart condition; she was sleeping in her parents’ driveway to protect his health. “It was just amazing to be able to say yes to her, and also amazing that she lives so close.”

    Heidi booked a month-long stay, and ended up spending two months at Sal’s home. Neighbors helped her open a tricky front door lock, and Sal and her husband were available to answer any questions. When her ICU work was extended after the first month, the responder who was supposed to move in to the listing voluntarily canceled his stay and asked Sal to prioritize Heidi since she was protecting vulnerable family members. “It was another reminder to us of how much the frontline workers and the people working in healthcare had to give up,” says Sal.

    That wasn’t the end of their hosting. Sal comes from a family of dentists, and knew personally that they were also frontline workers in need of support. After Heidi left, she provided a stay to a dentist doing emergency dental work to relieve pressure on hospitals that were overwhelmed by COVID-19 admissions. 10 nights at her home shortened his lengthy commute, and helped him protect his elderly father from exposure to COVID-19.

    “We felt like we were doing something for them because they were doing a huge service to us and to our families, and to the people that we know and love at home,” says Sal. “I’m glad we didn’t hesitate.”

    Join a growing community that unlocks the power of sharing during times of need.


    • It’s been one year since Airbnb launched Frontline stays.

    • Hosts around the world opened up their doors to provide stays for COVID-19 responders.

    Mar 23, 2021
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