NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Travel nurse Maggie Nelson moved to Nashville, Tennessee, to help fight the coronavirus crisis.
While working on the frontlines during this pandemic, however, she’s having a hard time finding somewhere to stay.
“A lot of people have been turning down nurses because they don’t want to bring the COVID into their house,” Nelson said. “I’ve had trouble finding housing.”
That all changed when she found the website medreliefhousing.com – an online matchmaker linking healthcare workers with Airbnb hosts.
Travers Xanthos is the entrepreneur who started the website and is now helping turn short-term rentals into longer stays for first responders at discounted prices.
“Basically, just enough to keep the lights on,” he said. “So, break-even prices, flexible lengths of stay really just to help them out.”
Xanthos manages 24 properties in Nashville and he first got the idea for this project following a natural disaster.
“With the whole tornado a couple of weeks ago, how the community really came together to help each other, and after seeing that, I wanted to do something during this,” he said.
The tornado had a big impact on Nashville’s tourism industry. With first responders looking for places to stay, that inspired Xanthos to create something both industries could benefit from.
“We as Airbnb hosts don’t really have the specialized skills that they have,” Xanthos said of medical workers. “What we do have is accommodations that we can provide.”
Xanthos is now expanding his operation to 10 more cities in the Southeast. He’s also sharing his information and expertise with other Airbnb hosts for free on his website thestrmethod.com.
“I’m just happy to help,” he said. “I’ve never been in a position to really help a cause like this and its exciting for me to do that.”
Exciting for Xanthos and helpful for nurses like Nelson.
“The house I’m living in is right around the corner from the hospital that I work at,” she said.
That makes it easier for her to get to and from work, pick up extra shifts and ultimately provide better care for patients during this pandemic.