Airbnb, NAACP Launch­ing Na­tional Part­ner­ship In South Florida

South Florida Times - - FRONT PAGE - By JAVON AN­THONY LLOYD

MIAMI GAR­DENS, Fla. – It’s no se­cret that cities like Miami, Fort Laud­erdale and West Palm Beach have be­come some of the most pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tions for tourist through­out the world. Now, a na­tional part­ner­ship be­tween Airbnb and the NAACP is set to launch right here in South Florida, with hopes of pro­mot­ing the ben­e­fits of home shar­ing among black res­i­dents, while also work­ing to help boost both eco­nomic and tourism op­por­tu­ni­ties in com­mu­ni­ties of color.

The land­mark part­ner­ship was an­nounced in July 2017 and will of­fi­cially launch dur­ing a spe­cial kick-off event sched­uled for Satur­day, May 19, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Betty T. Fer­gu­son Com­plex, lo­cated at 3000 NW 199th St. in Miami Gar­dens.

Dur­ing the event, res­i­dents through­out South Florida will have the chance to sign up as a host with Airbnb, find out ways to earn ex­tra in­come and learn how the multi­bil­lion­dol­lar com­pany is tak­ing steps to ad­dress con­cerns re­lated to dis­crim­i­na­tion and equal­ity.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Airbnb and the NAACP, as well as sev­eral lo­cal elected of­fi­cials, will also dis­cuss a num­ber of com­mit­ments stem­ming from the part­ner­ship, in­clud­ing com­mu­nity out­reach and ed­u­ca­tion, rev­enue shar­ing and em­ployee di­ver­sity. “Our lead­er­ship team rec­og­nized that there were still ar­eas that our ser­vices were not reach­ing – specif­i­cally in black com­mu­ni­ties,” said Janaye Ingram, di­rec­tor of part­ner­ships for Airbnb. “This joint ini­tia­tive was formed af­ter sev­eral pro­duc­tive meet­ings with the NAACP, and to­gether, we are very op­ti­mistic that this dy­namic col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween our two or­ga­ni­za­tions will not only pro­vide stronger eco­nomic life­lines, but will also show our con­tin­ued com­mit­ment to di­ver­sity and in­clu­sion.”

Founded in 2008, Airbnb is a U.S.-based hospi­tal­ity ser­vice com­pany that uti­lizes an on­line dig­i­tal mar­ket­place for in­di­vid­u­als look­ing to lease or rent short-term lodg­ing. Home­own­ers list their prop­er­ties through the com­pany’s on­line data­base and have the op­tion to ei­ther rent a spe­cific room or their en­tire home to Airbnb cus­tomers for a set fee.

The pri­vately-owned busi­ness is head­quar­tered in San Francisco and has nearly five mil­lion lodg­ing list­ings world­wide in more than 80,000 cities, in­clud­ing Miami, Los Angeles, Paris, Hong Kong, Rio de Janeiro and more.

Marvin Owens, se­nior di­rec­tor of the NAACP’s eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment pro­gram, stressed that the part­ner­ship is more than just get­ting peo­ple to stay in black neigh­bor­hoods.

He also men­tioned the ben­e­fits of giv­ing more black home­own­ers the op­por­tu­nity to earn ex­tra in­come through Airbnb that can be used for things like re­tire­ment, col­lege tuition and monthly ex­penses.

“Although most tech com­pa­nies have not done a great job of be­ing in­clu­sive to black work­ers, sta­tis­tics have shown that there is much power in the black dol­lar,” said Owens. “We con­sider this ini­tia­tive with Airbnb to be a big deal and look for­ward to cre­at­ing more jobs and ad­dress­ing issues re­lated to poverty, lack of af­ford­able hous­ing and ad­di­tional eco­nomic chal­lenges that un­der­served groups con­tinue to face.”

The eco­nomic im­pact from Airbnb in South Florida is stag­ger­ing. Since May 2017, Miami-Dade County has re­ceived $7.7 mil­lion in bed tax rev­enue from Airbnb, with Broward County re­ceiv­ing ap­prox­i­mately $3.3 mil­lion.

Funds gen­er­ated by these tax dol­lars are typ­i­cally rein­vested by the coun­ties to help pro­mote tourism, host sport­ing and cul­tural events, pay for beach re­nour­ish­ment and more.

And the money doesn’t stop there. Last year, in­di­vid­u­als who hosted through Airbnb in Miami earned a com­bined $55 mil­lion in sup­ple­men­tal in­come.

Guests who booked stays in Miami spent an av­er­age of $253 per day, ac­cord­ing to Airbnb, with nearly 50 per­cent of spend­ing re­main­ing in the neigh­bor­hood in which they stayed. “When­ever I travel and need a place to stay, I usu­ally look on Airbnb be­cause I know that I will be get­ting a good deal,” said Kya Wil­liams, a MBA grad­u­ate stu­dent from Clark At­lanta Univer­sity. “I’m a huge fan of Airbnb, and I’m glad to hear that the com­pany will be part­ner­ing with the NAACP. Hope­fully, it will lead to more pos­i­tive en­gage­ment for peo­ple who use the ser­vice and help stim­u­late more busi­ness in ar­eas that haven’t nec­es­sar­ily ben­e­fited di­rectly by tourism.”

PHO­TOS COUR­TESY OF NAACP

Panelists and guests dis­cuss the op­por­tu­ni­ties for blacks to par­tic­i­pate in the lu­cra­tive Airbnb home rental busi­ness at an NAACP fo­rum.

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