On October 22, Airbnb met with residents of South LA on the property of renowned West Angeles Church of God in Christ for an in-depth home sharing workshop.
The event treated the 100-plus attendees to a series of panels and sessions with current hosts and Airbnb staff, covering the company’s beginnings, the ins and outs of home sharing, and the path to becoming a host.
According to many attendees it was an enlightening workshop that successfully distilled the benefits of home sharing for hosts, travelers and local communities.
“I think the event is excellent,” exclaims South LA resident Ricky Brown, who immediately signed up to become a host. “Especially here in the local community. People can now have access to the revenue that’s being brought into LA.”
“I’m very impressed with the Airbnb event. I’ve heard a lot about the work Airbnb is doing around the world, and I’m over-joyed that our community has the opportunity to participate.”
– Bishop Charles Blake, West Angeles Church of God in Christ
Current hosts held group panels and one-on-one breakout sessions to share their experiences welcoming guests into their homes and into their city. “I love the guests,” says Leimert Park host Shonelle. “I love showing hospitality, and I love showing off my city.”
Airbnb hosts speak to a crowd of South LA residents about home sharing
“For the many long-time homeowners, to come here and actually meet people face to face, and hear what home sharing is all about, is something they got really excited about,” notes Airbnb host Angel.
Many local residents said they attended the home sharing event for a range of reasons, but the common theme was the need for economic empowerment for hosts and their communities.
“In the world we live in today, additional streams of income are almost imperative,” says local resident Rod. “Home sharing allows people to use something they already have.”
“Whether it’s a room or a castle, your place is desirable to someone and you have the opportunity to make it a revenue-generating source for yourself,” adds resident Ingrid.
“In the world we live in today, additional streams of income are almost imperative.”
“I have two children that are in college, so now I have two empty rooms,” notes Rene of Baldwin Hills. “I walk by these empty rooms and think, hmm, my kids need shoes, they need books, I need to pay for tuition. So why don’t I use their rooms as a way of generating income?”
Throughout the event, local residents raved about the unique experiences found in their neighborhoods, and how home sharing could benefit not only residents, but local businesses and travelers looking to see a different side of LA.
“I love when guests say ‘hey, do you recommend a place?’ and I got a whole list: these are my breakfast spots, my lunch & dinner spots,” says Shonelle. “In my area there are art galleries, theatres, coffee houses, “ notes local resident Clarence.
“We have a lot of self-employed businesses,” says local resident Sandra. “And certainly having people from Airbnb patronize those businesses would be very beneficial economically.”
“I think people get an opportunity to come into various neighborhoods, whereas normally they might not have come,” says local resident Rene. “You learn so much, and you gain so much culturally, and I think that’s a good thing.”
South LA, including nearby Leimert Park, is a brilliant blend of cultures, communities and rich history outside of the typical tourist destinations of LA. “Leimert Park is one of the most beautiful, historic neighborhoods in the city of Los Angeles, says Shonelle. “In fact, the oldest building in the city of LA is right down the street.”
“I live in historic West Adams,” says attendee Darlene. “I think there are more historic homes — homes over 100 years old — in my area than any other parts of the city.”
Leimert Park: The black cultural mecca of LA
West Angeles Church sits adjacent to one of the oldest, most culturally rich African-American neighborhoods in all of LA, Leimert Park. Established in the 20s, the neighborhood rapidly became one of the largest African American communities in the entire country. Many attendees touted its architecture and contemporary art scene as a “hidden treasure” for travelers.
“There’s so much history here. Leimert Park is a predominantly urban area, largely African American, and for a long time was [the epicenter] for Black Hollywood stars,” says Leimert Park Airbnb host Shonelle. “You have people like Robin Harris, Eddie Murphy, Jamie Foxx, they started their comedy careers right here at Regency West. Mayor Tom Bradley, the city’s first Black mayor, used to live right here as well.”
“The houses are beautiful Spanish-style homes, it is tree-lined, it is absolutely gorgeous,” says South LA resident Clarence.
“I love showing hospitality, and I love showing off my city.”
-Shonelle, Airbnb host, Leimert Park
Overall the event was a massive success, with dozens of attendees signing up to become hosts on the spot. “I really enjoyed it!,” says LA resident Betty. “I wanna be a host!”
In response to the high turnout and positive feedback, Airbnb hosts are preparing to launch the first home sharing club in South Los Angeles later this month.
“Airbnb comes in and says ‘Hey, here’s an opportunity. We’re open to you,’ says Ingrid. “I think it’s great.”