Airbnb hosts from all over San Diego came out this week to participate in the We All Count: Annual Homeless Census. Up before dawn, hosts volunteered at five different sites across San Diego, counting, documenting, and interviewing homeless San Diegans. The information gathered will be used to create a statistical snapshot of the homeless population in the city and will help inform policy and funding decisions for the city, local nonprofits and the federal government.
Alanna, a veteran and Airbnb host, used the extra income she earns on Airbnb to pay her way through school and start her own business. She is passionate about serving the community and was excited to join other Airbnb hosts in the census count. For Alanna, volunteering was important, because as a veteran, the issue of veteran homelessness is near and dear to her heart.
“Airbnb provided the supplemental income I needed during my transition out of the military. I needed to further my education at that time and hosting made it possible for me to go back to school. Now when I hear about opportunities to help through the host community I am excited to help any way I can. I feel like so much more a part of my community as a host and volunteering is a natural continuation of that,” she says.
An estimated 1,700 San Diegans participated in We All Count. Airbnb hosts, their friends and family members joined other volunteers and city employees in the Pacific Beach, Hillcrest, University Heights, Balboa Park, and Mission Beach neighborhoods. Homelessness is a serious issue affecting San Diego, and many in the community are working to help those affected.
Alicia, another volunteer, is a senior citizen who relies on Airbnb to stay in her home. She started hosting because her rent went up and her social security income was not enough to cover her mortgage. She signed up for the census count because she feels the need to help those less fortunate.
“We are our brother’s keeper and I am committed to making sure all San Diegans live with dignity. It felt great to go out and volunteer with my fellow hosts today.”