Real Estate

Airbnb Launches New Council To Address U.S. Housing Crisis

The Airbnb Housing Council will advise the home-sharing company on policies and initiatives it can support to combat housing affordability and inventory issues.

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Airbnb announced this week the launch of an effort to examine potential solutions to the nation’s housing crisis through the convening of a panel of housing experts, elected officials and academic institutions across the United States.

The Airbnb Housing Council will be chaired by former Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, a former chair of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and will advise the home-sharing company on policies and initiatives it can support to balance the benefits of home sharing with the long-term housing needs of the communities it operates in, according to a news release. 

“As a former mayor, I know the challenges municipal leaders face in addressing housing challenges in their communities,” Rawlings-Blake said in a statement.  “There are no shortcuts or simple solutions to this crisis — it was many years in the making and will take a coordinated, long-term effort to address. We need all community stakeholders — both the public and private sector — to work together to bolster America’s housing supply.”

Airbnb has faced criticism and regulation for its own purported role in the housing crisis, with some accusing it of cutting down on long-term housing supply. Many large cities have imposed strict rules around home sharing, including New York City, which recently restricted short-term rental operators from renting an entire home or apartment for fewer than 30 days and required owners to register their rentals with the city.

“We’ve long partnered with cities to support policies that protect housing and preserve the economic activity that home sharing generates. As communities continue to face significant housing affordability challenges primarily driven by decades of underproduction, we will leverage the expertise of the Airbnb Housing Council to identify new policy ideas and initiatives we can support to help the communities our Hosts and guests call home,” Jay Carney, global head of policy and communications at Airbnb, said in a statement.

Other members of the panel include Richmond, Virginia, Mayor Levar Stoney; National League of Cities CEO Clarence Anthony; National Fair Housing Alliance Executive Vice President Nikitra Bailey; National Zoning Atlas Director Sarah Bronin; and National Housing Conference CEO David Dworkin.

The announcement highlights the company’s recent efforts to support housing solutions, such as its support of a ballot initiative in Colorado to permit local municipalities to allocate existing transient occupancy tax dollars to develop new workforce housing, its $3 million donation to the San Francisco Foundation to support California’s efforts to make it easier f0r communities to approve affordable housing bond measures, and its more than $1.4 million of donations to housing advocacy organizations since 2022.

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