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As Hurricane Harvey Intensifies, Airbnb Looks To Texans To Open Their Homes Up To Victims

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As Hurricane Harvey intensifies in Texas, leaving large parts of Houston devastated and completely flooded, Airbnb has activated their Disaster Response Program.

The program is set to provide those who’ve been displaced by Hurricane Harvey, as well as volunteers and relief workers, a safe place to stay at no cost.

Airbnb is currently looking for people in San Antonio, Austin and Dallas to open up their homes to victims and relief workers affected by Hurricane Harvey. Homes in those cities are already open to those in need of shelter.

The Houston police chief said 2,000 people were rescued from flooding in the city over the weekend, and that at least 185 critical rescue requests were pending as Tropical Storm Harvey brought catastrophic rains into flood-prone areas. Here, Harris County Sheriff's Deputy R. Johnson rescues two children from high floodwaters in Cypress, TX. Officials released more water from Houston-area reservoirs overwhelmed by Harvey earlier in the day. The move is aimed at protecting the city's downtown from devastating floods, but that could still endanger thousands of homes, even as the nation's fourth-largest city anticipated more rain. To find out how you can help those affected by Harvey, click the ABC7 logo from our profile. Photo: @hcsotexas

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So far, Hurricane Harvey has dropped more than 20 inches of rain in some areas, and it hasn’t let up. According to the New York Times, the rains could continue another two-to-three days and add 15-to-25 inches of rain to parts of Southern Texas. Areas could see up to 50 inches of rain. The Washington Post reports that officials in Texas have put the death toll at eight so far, with more 30,000 people expected to be evacuated from their homes.

People are currently offering spare rooms, living rooms, and entire homes and apartments on Airbnb. If you’re in need of shelter or willing to offer your home for free to individuals and families, click here to find a place to stay or list your home as an evacuation shelter.


READ: After Criticism, Border Patrol Announces It Will Close Immigration Checkpoints In Path Of Hurricane Harvey

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After Delay Caused By Border Wall And Trump’s Feud with Puerto Rico, Congress Finally Passes $19.1 Billion Disaster Aid Package

Things That Matter

After Delay Caused By Border Wall And Trump’s Feud with Puerto Rico, Congress Finally Passes $19.1 Billion Disaster Aid Package

@thehill \ Twitter

Nearly two years after Puerto Rico was hit by two massive hurricanes,
a $19 billion disaster relief bill has been approved by Congress. The House of Representatives passed the bill on Monday night, sending the measure to President Trump, where he is expected to sign it.

The delay in the disaster funding bill was caused by a political argument between President Trump and Puerto Rico that has lasted for over a year.

Credit: @NPR / Twitter

The relief package will be sent to states like affected by flooding, wildfires, tornadoes, hurricanes and other natural disasters in recent months. The bill passed by a wide bipartisan gap, 354 to 58, and ends a months-long saga in Congress.

The disaster bill, which is typically a bipartisan issue, faced multiple delays. The legislation was halted for months as President Trump and Democrats fought over aid to Puerto Rico, which will now receive more than $1.4 billion in assistance. President Trump and San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz publicly argued over hurricane recovery efforts.

The stalling came at a cost as Puerto Rico cut food assistance to a program serving almost half its residents. Many people have yet to return to their normal lives almost two years later.

There were issues of where all the money would be going including funding for a border wall.

Credit: @deidrekwalsh / Twitter

There were also internal fighting among some Republicans who wanted money allocated over border funding. This led to some objections by a handful of conservatives in the House who stopped the bill from passing over Memorial Day weekend. The 58 who voted “no” on the bill all came from Republicans.

“Today we are rejecting the political stunts and grandstanding that have made it difficult to deliver much-needed disaster relief to families and communities across America,” Nita Lowey, House Appropriations Chairwoman told USA Today during the floor debate. “Americans across the country have been waiting far too long for the relief and recovery assistance they deserve.”

Ultimately, the bill will fund numerous federal programs that provide aid and rebuilding assistance to local communities, farmers, service members and others nationwide.

Besides Puerto Rico, the relief bill will help in areas like Florida, Georgia, Alabama which were hit by hurricanes in the last year. Also for massive wildfires in California, and floods in the Midwest.

The bill contains $2.4 billion for community development block grants to help with disasters that have occurred since 2017 and $3 billion for the Agriculture Department to cover farmers losses from those disasters. An additional $720 million will be given to the Forest Service to repay money spent fighting California’s deadly wildfires last year.

Many in Congress celebrated to the bill being passed after numerous delays.

Credit: @SenKamalaHarris / Twitter

Leaders on both sides of the political aisle celebrated the bill passing as many communities have sought assistance for months. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the bill was long overdue and blamed Republicans for the holdup.

“For more than four months, Republicans in the Senate, White House and now the House have forced millions of American families to pay the price for their cruel actions,” Pelosi said in a public statement.

On the Republican side, minority leader, Kevin McCarthy of California, said while the bill will help many it doesn’t solve the many problems at the U.S. border.

“The appropriated resources will begin to provide necessary aid and relief to the millions of Americans around the country struggling from the devastation caused by natural disasters,” McCarthy said. “However, it’s unfortunate that Democrats dragged their feet for so long and yet still refuse to address the humanitarian and national security crisis taking place along our southern border.”

Nonetheless, the relief package is poised to help thousands of Americans affected by the recent natural distastes. The amount of money and magnitude of the legislation highlights the recent frequency of extreme weather conditions that have occurred in the last few years in the U.S.

READ: A Legal Marijuana Industry Might Be What Puerto Rico Needs To Recover Financially

Puerto Rico’s Airbnbs And Experienced Will Take Your Vacation To The Next Level

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Puerto Rico’s Airbnbs And Experienced Will Take Your Vacation To The Next Level

Mark / Airbnb

Aside from just straight donating to charities, visiting Puerto Rico is one of the best ways to help the island continue its recovery from the damages of Hurricane Maria. The island has a long history of relying on tourism to boost its economy, and it’s for good reason: es bellísima. 

Learn to rappel down a waterfall | $135

CREDIT: Diego / Airbnb

If you came to Puerto Rico for the waterfalls, then climbing several small waterfalls with Diego to reach the top of El Salta Waterfall is for you. He’ll teach you how to rappel down the 80 foot waterfall and then zipline out of the forest. Plus, reviewers say that Diego’s family accommodated their vegan dietary needs for a home-cooked meal afterward!

Tree House | $62 p/night

CREDIT: Enrique / Airbnb

I see you outdoorsy people. Enjoy a stay in a five star rated modest treehouse in Utuado, close to rivers, lakes beaches and caves. One reviewer raves, “A magic, romantic and private place for anyone who like wilderness and peace. Much better than i expected. Crazy for going back there. And centric for whoever visit and is planning to adventure the whole island.”

Culebra Snorkeling Getaway | $115

CREDIT: East Island / Airbnb

This sold out experience gets you six hours of Caribbean Sea views, both above board and under water. Enjoy Culebra’s beautiful beaches and coral reefs at your leisure, along with a lunch buffet and all snorkeling gear included.

Pool House with Underground Jacuzzi Grotto | $850 p/night

CREDIT: Max / Airbnb

If you’re swimming in dough or have a big group of friends, you’ll enjoy this 8-bedroom mansion complete with an underground jacuzzi. The home itself is a piece of history, complete with private pools and unique features.

Rainforest Water Slide Tour | $89

CREDIT: Chris / Airbnb

This is Airbnb’s #1 adventure tour in Puerto Rico for a reason. You’ll get to go to remote giant rainforest water slides and jump off of 30 foot cliffs into crystal clear water.

Body Rafting™ & Caving ∙Nature Reserve | $110

CREDIT: Mimi / Airbnb

Mimi is a scientist who has spent 7 years surveying the geo hydrology of Tanamá caves. She takes adventurers in life vests to float downstream and get a nature tour of the caves she studies so intimately.

Horseback Ride on Luquillo Beach | $99

CREDIT: Alejandro / Airbnb

You guys. Bring your boo to “traverse the crystal clear waters of the Mameyes River to finally reach Luquillo’s Gold Coast” on horseback. Then, relax on the beach, have a drink and enjoy the breeze.

Casablanca | $79

CREDIT: CasaBlanca / Airbnb

Rent out your own air conditioned space just blocks from Ocean Park beach in San Juan. When you’re not taking in San Juan, you can relax on your own hammock in a tropical private garden.

Condado City Lights – LED Night Paddle | $49

CREDIT: mark / Airbnb

If your idea of enjoying San Juan’s nightlife is from an LED lit paddle board, then Mark has you covered. The glow face paint is included. ; )

Sail San Juan Bay | $75

CREDIT: Ivan / Airbnb

Spend a couple hours with Ivan on a romantic sunset sail on San Juan Bay. His complimentary drinks really hit home with reviewers, along with his excellent photography skills. Get that couples’ shot with flying manta rays. This is your vacay.

Mofongos! Mofongos! Mofongos! | $29

CREDIT: cristian / Airbnb

You haven’t been to Puerto Rico until you’ve drooled while eating its famous mofongo. Join Cristian and his family in learning how to make the dish, offered to meet your dietary needs.

Entire Condominium in San Juan | $115 p/night

CREDIT: Annet and Andrés / Airbnb

A recent guest says it all about this gem: “A rare piece of history and beauty. An incredible opportunity to see, hear, and experience Old San Juan from the most premier location. The Victorian doors and windows were stunning. The open balconies on the interior was fascinating and incredible – facilitating a constant warm ocean breeze when the louvers and shutters were open. A roof porch in the center of town. Great views of the lively colors of the city. Thanks to Lourdes for her kindness, recommendations, and welcomeness. Kind neighbors downstairs. Muchas gracias!”

Go Paddleboarding in a scenic lagoon with Julio for $25

CREDIT: Juilo / Airbnb

Check out Puerto Rico’s manatees, sea turtles and sting rays in a beautiful lagoon adjacent to the city of San Juan. His staff are all certified by the American Canoe Association to give you the best experience possible of the Condado Lagoon.

Surfing with Local Brian Ramos! | $70

CREDIT: Brian / Airbnb

Brian promises to take you to uncrowded spots where beginners are able to get 10+ waves in a short two hour lesson. If you’ve never surfed before, trust that this is huge.

Experience Tropical Camping at a Cabin Close to the Ocean | $95 p/night

CREDIT: Francis / Airbnb

Call this glamping, complete with post-modern minimalist decor, AC and a nearby beach. Reviewers truly *rave* about their host: “We loved staying at Francis’ place. It was immaculate and furnished with great attention to detail. There was a nice bottle of red wine and chocolates. Francis was very hospitable and easy to talk to, and he gave us two fresh coconuts and straws to drink from. What makes this Airbnb special is the beach nearby and the local friendliness in the area. The beach is right across the street and through a little trail. It is very private besides a few surfers in the morning. The sand is soft and the waves are beautiful. We spent a lot of time collecting sea shells and swimming. We will definitely be back!”

Exotic Flower Farm Stay | $39 p/night

CREDIT: Britton / Airbnb

Yup. You can stay in a cabana on a tropical fruit and flower farm with ocean views. Grab a mango from the garden and head to the beach for some good surf, all at a very reasonable price.

Barefoot Studio Sanctuary Prime Location Surf Yoga | $50 p/night

CREDIT: Joy / Airbnb

The best part about this studio, complete with a king bed and private garden filled with tropical flowers for your picking, is how integrated other activities are with your stay. You can walk to the beach, take surf and yoga lessons offered by the same company.

Eco-Chalet up in the mountains | $100 p/night

CREDIT: Juan Carlos / Airbnb

Enjoy your stay at the only Puerto Rican eco-lodge listed on Airbnb. The house is on 144 acres of private tropical rainforest. The only electricity in the house comes from solar energy, and you can expect to be completely unplugged from the internet. This place has 100 five star reviews.

Cave Tubing and Ziplining Adventure | $75

CREDIT: Noel / Airbnb

It’s the lazy river for not so lazy people. This trip into the Arecibo area includes a 250 foot biplane, rafting into caves, and hikes through the famous El Yunque rainforest.

El Yunque Rainforest River Trail! | $89

CREDIT: Safuan / Airbnb

Safuan offers transportation to and from the famous El Yunque rainforest. From there, you’ll embark on a short hike to a less traversed swimming hole, complete with a swinging rope, a natural stone slide, and local beach.

READ: 22 Amazing Airbnb Listings For Your Next Trip to Latin America

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