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Letter: Airbnb wants to work with the community

Contrary to what the author implies in the Jan. 12 Everybody’s Column, the 440 hosts across Buffalo are members of their community, many of whom began sharing their home in order to pay their mortgage or keep up with property taxes – to afford to stay in their home. Fifty-eight percent of Buffalo hosts are women, and nearly one in five are seniors above the age of 60, many of whom have opened their doors to guests in order to age in place in a city they love.

Along with those who began sharing their home to afford to stay in their home, there are still others who opened their doors to share their Buffalove with tourists from around the globe – or even from across their own state, as New York visitors make up the lion’s share of the city’s Airbnb guests. Look no further than the fact that 95 percent of our hosts recommend their favorite shops or restaurants to their guests. That impact is immeasurable, but there is no doubt that it has been widely felt from Canalside to West Side.

That said, whether you are a host, guest, or a neighbor, Airbnb wants the sharing economy to work for you and that means being a good neighbor ourselves. That’s why we have implemented a number of innovative safety tools, from running background checks and providing free smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to hosts; to our $1 million Host Guarantee and Host Protection Insurance programs. We also offer our Neighbor Tool for anyone to share specific concerns they might have about a listing.

As Buffalo considers short-term rental regulations, we stand at the ready to work with the community and city officials to develop rules that ensure that all residents of the Queen City can access the economic opportunity of this growing technology.

Josh Meltzer

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