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200,000 More in the Dark as Nor'easter Badgers a Besieged Region

Airbnb offers silver lining for homeless Sandy victims

- Common Dreams staff

Wednesday's nor'easter brought cold and darkness to the storm battered east, but spared them from any significant destruction.

Fatima Quentiro and her granddaughter Galalea Castro brave the nor'easter in Rockaway on Wednesday. (Photo by Mario Tama / Getty Images) As the storm blanketed the region with thick, wet snow, over 750,000 households from Connecticut to New Jersey remained without power—200,000 of which were new outages thanks to the freshly downed power lines and snapped trees.

"We lost power last week, just got it back for a day or two, and now we lost it again," John Monticello of Point Pleasant Beach, N.J. told the Associated Press. "Every day it's the same now: turn on the gas burner for heat. Instant coffee. Use the iPad to find out what's going on in the rest of the world."

Though utility companies had prepared by adding extra crews ahead of the nor'easter, it was not enough to combat the additional damage. AP reports:

In New Jersey, there were about 400,000 power outages early Thursday; 150,000 of those were new. In New York City and Westchester, more than 70,000 customers were without power after the storm knocked out an additional 55,000 customers.

On Long Island, an area badly battered, there were 125,000 new outages, but about 80,000 were restored, making a total of about 300,000 customers without power.

An official from Consolidated Edison, Alfonso Quiroz, said that despite the additional 3,000 outages bringing their total to 67,000 customers without power, the utility was still on track with their recovery plan. "I think we're going to be able to power through. Our objective was to get power restored to everyone by the weekend and we're still working with that goal," reported AP.

Despite stalling recovery efforts, the storm added little permanent damage. The region was spared the anticipated flooding and roads and train lines in New Jersey and New York City were clear by Thursday morning's commute.

As for the approximately 100,000 people who's homes were destroyed by superstorm Sandy, the city has been scrambling to provide enough shelter space and warming centers to keep them safe. On Wednesday, city officials announced a new partnership with Airbnb, a short term rental listing website, to help connect displaced Sandy victims with free short-term housing.

According to Inhabitat NYC:

The platform has agreed to provide insurance, customer service, and other services to those in need during this time. Airbnb has already seen 2,500 last-minute bookings near affected areas.

Beth Buczynski, writing for Shareable, called the exchange "a fantastic example of how nimble sharing companies can flex and collaborate in times of need."

Housing all over New York can be found on Airbnb’s Donated Sandy Housing Director. “Safe cozy home for hurricane victim,” one post was titled. “Sandy Disaster Workers Welcome,” said another listing. "Let's help one another during this time of need," the site urges.
 

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