Kimberly

We Are Airbnb: Hosts answer life’s challenges in an unexpected way

“My husband and I spent countless nights wondering if and when we would lose our home, or if we would have to stop treatment to keep a roof over our heads... Airbnb saved us.”

At 16 Kimberly was diagnosed with a chronic, degenerative illness that currently has no cure. All the same, she made it through school, and joined the “grown up” workforce immediately after graduating from college. Four months ago however, her condition worsened dramatically, and she had to stop working. Kimberly is no longer able to have a “normal” job, or a “normal” life. That means the end of one full household paycheck for the foreseeable future.

And while her husband Ray is a top designer at a major firm in NYC, and teaches self defense in the evenings, his earnings simply do not cover their rent and her treatment at the same time. Disability benefits in the United States can take many months to process. Without that assistance, Kimberly and Ray spent countless nights wondering if and when they would lose their home, or if she would have to stop treatment to keep a roof over their heads.

Enter, Airbnb.

With their first booking, hosting provided immediate protection from homelessness, and enough income to pay for Kimberly’s treatment. She is now physically able to book and prepare their home for guests, allowing her to contribute to her household.

“There are no words to describe how important that is to a disabled person.”

Kimberly and Ray’s average monthly Airbnb earnings total less than the amount available through New York unemployment benefits. But it allows them to remain afloat and independent, in the apartment and the city they love.

“This is our city. We found our love and lives here, weathered 9/11 and the darkness of Hurricane Sandy here. We love New York and want to make her stronger.”

Kimberly and Ray, in their beloved New York City.

Kimberly and Ray, in their beloved New York City.


Their apartment’s bedroom.

Their apartment’s bedroom.


Their classic NYC living room, taxi-cab yellow, fire escape gate and all.

Their classic NYC living room, taxi-cab yellow, fire escape gate and all.


Unkind guests need not apply.

Unkind guests need not apply.

Airbnb teams up with local directors and photographers to bring these stories to life. Thanks to Nathan Perkel for capturing this story.


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