Tourists demanding free meals from La Fondita de Jesús puts Airbnb in the spotlight
Airbnb representatives are calling on their clients to report hosts who offer free meals from organizations like La Fondita de Jesús during their stays. La Fondita de Jesús exclusively provides breakfast and lunch to indigent or homeless individuals.
Josué Maysonet, the executive director of La Fondita de Jesús, recently denounced certain property managers in the Santurce area who are offering an “all inclusive” service with free meals to guests. However, when these guests request food, they are directed to La Fondita de Jesús.
Controversy Arises as Short-Term Rentals Offer Free Meals to Homeless
“We are not aware of reports of this nature involving hosts and guests on Airbnb. We take all reports very seriously and appropriate action will be taken,” stated an Airbnb representative.
Josué Maysonet did not name the specific rental platforms involved in this practice. He explained that the major obstacle they face is the inability to file a formal complaint against the landlords, as guests become upset when they realize the food is not available to the general public but rather for vulnerable individuals. Additionally, authorities require testimonies from deceived customers, which has not been possible.
Maysonet hopes that by publicly speaking out, the owners or managers of short-term rentals will cease this practice out of “humanism.”
“We encourage people to report any instances of this practice on any short-term rental platforms in Puerto Rico,” stated the Airbnb communication.
La Fondita de Jesús serves around 1,500 homeless or formerly homeless individuals each year, with 175 active cases recorded in June alone. Over 50% of the participants are aged 50 or older, 13% are between 16 and 25 years old, and the remaining are between 30 and 49. 32% are women and 68% are men. The reports also indicate that 85% of the participants have mental health problems, while 65% struggle with substance abuse.