Last September at the Biden Cancer Initiative Summit, Airbnb launched its Open Homes program for medical stays — allowing hosts to open their homes to people traveling for critical medical treatment or respite. Today, the company is proud to announce significant progress made on their commitment to help patients in New York and around the world have access to warm, comfortable homes during difficult times.
Two new partners have joined the medical stays program — the New York-based Bone Marrow & Cancer Foundation and the Cancer Support Community, both of whom provide support to critically ill patients in times of need. These new partners will have access to free housing provided by Airbnb’s generous hosts through the Open Homes program. And in order to help even more people in need, in situations where free homes may not be immediately available, Airbnb is donating over $1.2M in grants to these organizations to help patients and their families relieve the financial burdens of finding housing when traveling for treatment. So far, about 2,000 patients and their families have booked housing through the Open Homes program, contributing to Airbnb’s overall goal of housing 100,000 people in need by 2022.
As noted by Vice President Joe Biden in a speech at the WeWork Cancer Hub today, “You all know it: What’s the hardest thing about dealing with cancer? It’s that you can’t afford to get to where you have to go. You physically don’t know how you’re going to pay for the room you’re going to stay in. That’s the peace of mind [Airbnb’s medical stays program] brings! In just the past six months, roughly 2,000 people have made use of this program. But that’s not enough — and today, Airbnb is announcing they’ll provide $1.2 Million in grants, working with organizations who can let more patients know about this opportunity, advertise it more, bring the program to more patients. The New York-based Bone Marrow & Cancer Foundation and the Cancer Support Community are two of the recipients of this aid, to get people to understand it’s available.”
The medical stays program is part of Open Homes, Airbnb’s initiative to help find temporary housing for vulnerable communities around the world. The idea for the platform originated after Hurricane Sandy hit New York in 2012, with hosts opening their homes for free to those evacuating from the storm. It expanded in 2017 to help refugees around the world resettle, and last September to critically ill patients and their families traveling for medical treatment or respite.
We know that the cost of temporary accommodations can be a major barrier to receiving treatment for critical illnesses. Since launching our medical stays program six months ago, our team has helped connect thousands of patients with our generous host community to give them homes where they can rest and recuperate. We’re very optimistic that through our new partners, The Bone Marrow & Cancer Foundation and the Cancer Support Community, our hosts can help even more patients around the world. We invite anyone who enjoys helping those in need to join us.
Joe Gebbia, Co-founder and Chief Product Officer of Airbnb
The Bone Marrow & Cancer Foundation (BMCF), founded and based in New York City since 1992, is dedicated to improving the quality of life for cancer and transplant patients and their families throughout the United States. Through working with over 200 cancer centers in the United States, BMCF receives thousands of housing request calls from patients, their families and caregivers.New York City is their top market for their patients, many of whom travel from around the world to seek treatment at the city’s renowned hospitals, and they have already housed many patients coming to the city through Airbnb.
I want to extend my sincere gratitude to the Bone Marrow & Cancer Foundation and to Airbnb. The home was a mile away from my hospital and made me feel so safe during my aggressive cancer treatment. It has been a blessing for me and my family as I’m in remission now.
Nousheen, a beneficiary of the Open Homes program and recent Bone Marrow & Cancer Foundation partnership
The Cancer Support Community (CSC), based in Washington, DC, is a global network that provides $50 million in free support services each year to cancer patients and their loved ones in person at 175 locations, including affiliates in Greater New York City and New Jersey, via online resources and through a toll-free helpline. CSC’s research has identified New York as one of the top five destination markets for patients seeking assistance to travel for their care. Like the Bone Marrow & Cancer Foundation, many of CSC’s members travel to New York for care, and they know they will be grateful for the city’s warm welcome by Airbnb hosts.
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. This grant from Airbnb is a game-changer for these patients and caregivers—and you can hear the relief and gratitude in their voices as they learn about the free housing from the Airbnb community.
Kim Thiboldeaux, CEO of the Cancer Support Community and member of the Biden Cancer Initiative’s Board of Directors
The Bone Marrow & Cancer Foundation and the Cancer Support Community join existing Medical Stay partners including the Fisher House Foundation and the Make-A-Wish Foundation to help identify and place patients and their families in homes. The Make-A-Wish Foundation® grants thousands of life-changing wishes every year for children with critical illnesses, hundreds of which take place in New York City for “wish kids” who wish to see the see the city’s great landmarks. And the Fisher House Foundation, which provides housing for military and veteran’s families traveling for medical treatment at the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs medical centers, including at the Stratton VA Medical Center in Upstate New York. They are also planning on building 2 new Fisher Houses in the Bronx to serve the VA Center there as well.
Learn more about supporting Open Homes here.