Airbnb doesn’t care about people like me.
I learned this the hard way a few months ago when I tried to find accommodation in Washington, D.C.
After chaperoning two busloads of youth from New York City for the March for Our Lives, I decided to stay a couple more days. The other chaperones agreed to ride the bus back to New York City with the kids, and I logged into my new Airbnb account for the first time to find a place to spend the night. Soon after locating and booking a suitable place, I received an email from Airbnb stating:
“Upon review, and given information uncovered pursuant to online public records, we have determined that it is in the best interest of Airbnb, and for the users on our site, to deactivate your account.”
Airbnb confirmed what I already knew: The reason for the company deactivating my account was my conviction for attempted robbery, and first- and second-degree assault, 16 years ago.
Airbnb’s website identifies certain criminal convictions as a reason to disqualify people from using its service. Now, after years of healing and loving work, I am confronted, yet again, with the cruel reality that society makes people like me keep paying for mistakes far beyond our prison term.