For the average Airbnb host, sharing their unused space is a great way to earn an extra income. But for Vicki and Roger Henry of St. Paul, MN, they looked around their third story apartment and saw it as an opportunity to help others.
Vicki and Roger have always had a passion for those without access to affordable housing. They spend their free time volunteering with such organizations as Habitat for Humanity. Roger is also a long time board member with Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless, a local non-profit that helps food and shelter providers throughout Minnesota obtain the items necessary to serve more people in need.
After seeing the stories surrounding local Minnesotans renting out their homes through Airbnb to all the out-of-state football fans during Super Bowl LII, Roger got inspired. He and Vicki have a turn of the century home near Grand and Dale in St. Paul with a 1,000 square foot third story apartment, including its own entrance, kitchen, bathroom and fireplace. Despite Roger having to give up his occasional “man-cave”, he and Vicki decided it might be good karma to use their excess space to raise money for people who have no place to call home.
The couple has donated all the revenue from their Airbnb venture to Open Your Heart, raising over $3,500 so far, with commitments for an additional $2,000 in upcoming rental stays. For them, it’s an opportunity to give back while getting to meet people from all around the world. They have had guests from Massachusetts, Texas, Oregon, Wisconsin, Florida and even Kuwait. Another couple from Guam will be staying with them over Labor Day.
Coined by Vicki and Roger on Airbnb as a “Shelter With a Cause”, their space rents for just $100 a night. Quite a deal, especially when considering that $100 can provide: school supplies to four homeless students so they can thrive in school during a difficult time; comforting bedding and clean towels for women arriving at a domestic violence shelter; or winter survival gear for two homeless youth unable to access shelter. They say home is where the heart is and nothing could more true for Vicki and Roger.
If you are interested in exploring if your home might work for generating donations to support Open Your Heart, please contact [email protected]. Vicki and Roger would be more than happy to discuss their experiences with you. If you or someone you know would like to stay at Vicki and Roger’s home in St. Paul through Airbnb please visit their website.