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Airbnb is donating $5 million toward helping the homeless in San Francisco

It’s the biggest donation the company has made in its hometown to date.

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky
Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky
Mike Windle / Getty Images for Airbnb
Shirin Ghaffary is a senior Vox correspondent covering the social media industry. Previously, Ghaffary worked at BuzzFeed News, the San Francisco Chronicle, and TechCrunch.

Airbnb is making its biggest donation yet in its hometown — $5 million — toward helping address the homelessness crisis in San Francisco.

The announcement comes at a time when politicians and social justice organizations are increasingly calling upon tech companies to give more to the city where they created their wealth. Last week, San Franciscans voted to pass a “homelessness tax” — Prop C — on large corporations in the city.

The issue has divided the tech community. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff helped bring national attention to Prop C by sparring on Twitter with tech CEOs such as Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in defense of the measure, and accusing some San Francisco billionaires of hoarding their wealth instead of opening their pocketbooks to help the city’s most needy.

While Airbnb has taken no official stance on Prop C, the donation is a sign that the company is willing to publicly commit to a bigger role in helping out on the issue.

“We are proud to call this city our home, and we know we have a deep responsibility to step up and help find solutions to some of our hometown’s most pressing issues, including homelessness,” the company wrote in a blog post this morning.

It’s a far cry from what some called a tone-deaf attitude a few years back, when the company ran a “Dear San Francisco” ad campaign telling the city how to spend the taxes it collects from the company.

Airbnb has yet to announce the specifics about how it will distribute the funds, but the company has talked with organizations and leaders such as Benioff and San Francisco Mayor London Breed, and nonprofits The Tipping Point Foundation and Hamilton House, according to a spokesperson for Airbnb.

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