Airbnb has announced it will extend its partnership with Safe Ireland to offer free accommodation to survivors of domestic violence.
The initiative began in June 2020 ahead of the State's easing of restrictions, providing 2,000 nights of emergency accommodation to date.
Specialist domestic violence accommodation services have reduced their capacity by 25 per cent due to social distancing measures and there is concern demand may increase over the summer months.
Last year, July and August were the busiest months for people seeking emergency accommodation, as survivors often do not want to move out of the family home while children are in school.
A report from Safe Ireland also found on average, 180 women and 275 children applied for emergency accommodation each month between March and December last year. However, during that period, 2,159 requests could not be met due to lack of capacity.
We really welcome the announcement of the extended @Airbnb partnership with @SAFEIreland and @Womens_Aid to provide temporary safe accommodation for women and children escaping abuse and violence. So far it has provided 2000 nights of emergency accommodation. #invaluable pic.twitter.com/aE9oFD5Rgr
— Safe Ireland National Social Change Agency CLG (@SAFEIreland) June 3, 2021
Working with its hotel partners, Airbnb will provide temporary accommodation when specialist emergency accommodation is not available.
The initiative will be coordinated by Safe Ireland, with all applicants first having their safety needs assessed before being booked into their temporary hotel accommodation, where they will receive close support from domestic violence specialists.
Safe Ireland CEO, Mary McDermott said they are delighted the initiative is continuing and although the solution may only be temporary, it provides a "critical respite for services" and allows survivors to make longer term plans.
"Domestic violence is the leading cause of family homelessness. The availability of safe, affordable and stable housing is fundamental not only to a person’s ability to escape an abusive partner, but also to remain safe and independent."
If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can contact Women’s Aid (24-hour freephone helpline at 1800 341 900, email: email@example.com) or Men’s Aid Ireland (confidential helpline at 01 554 3811, email: firstname.lastname@example.org) for support and information.
Safe Ireland also outlines a number of local services and helplines on their dedicated 'Where to get help' page.
In the case of an emergency, always dial 999/112.