April 25, 2016
New York City policymakers and affordable housing advocates have criticized Airbnb following a report the company released claiming it benefits “predominantly black” neighborhoods.
Critics call the company’s release of this information a “duplicitous” and “disingenuous” PR push, a smokescreen to obscure how Airbnb is actually “ravaging” black neighbourhoods in New York City by taking rental units off the market – which contributes to raised rents amid a significant housing crisis.
“It’s a typical Airbnb puff-piece where they release selective data,” Sarah Desmond, executive director of the Manhattan-based advocacy nonprofit Housing Conservation Coordinators, told The Independent. “They control all of the data. No one else has access to the raw data, they only have the summarized whitewashed version that they released. [Airbnb] obviously use the data points that make the case that they want.”
The report, released last week, shows 78 per cent increase in guests renting Airbnb listings in the 30 postal codes in the five boroughs with the highest black populations over the year, beginning 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016. Additionally, hosts who list their spaces – whether private room, shared space, or full unit – grew at a rate of 35 per cent citywide; but in black neighborhoods, Airbnb boasts a 60 per cent increase in hosts.
“Simply put,” the report says, “Airbnb is growing significantly faster in predominantly black neighborhoods than it is across the city.”