Airbnb to provide emergency help during crisis

Brendan Donohoe and Krystal Johnson

The Victorian government is partnering with accommodation sharing website Airbnb to offer short-term housing during emergencies.

Premiere Daniel Andrews announced the agreement Friday during a tour of tech companies in San Francisco, but steered clear of controversial ride-sharing firm Uber.

Airbnb is a privately-owned website founded in August 2008 that allows people to rent out their rooms, apartments or homes offering people with a place to stay across the globe.

Under the new partnership, Airbnb would have to match those in need of housing in a crisis with low cost or rooms for free.

Emergency Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley says it was a new way to make the most of the community's goodwill and “fill a gap”.

"It will be used for significant and major emergencies," Mr Lapsley told ‘’ABC News’’ said.

"It's an opportunity for us to fill a gap that we've identified before, where we've actually had the goodwill of Victorians [who] offer up their places of accommodation, and we've struggled to have a timely way to connect community needs to those.”

When Hurricane Sandy hit the US in 2012, Airbnb quickly re-engineered our website so 1,400 hosts could open their homes to those in need for free.

News break – June 3