SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Ever seen a park bench listed on Airbnb? This holiday season, Havenwood Academy, a local residential treatment center specializing in treating young women, is asking people to “go homeless” so foster youths don’t have to.
Havenwood is raising funds to support homeless youths by donating all the proceeds from their Airbnb bookings to Youth Futures Utah, a nonprofit that provides resources for at-risk youths.
The listings may not be what one would normally expect. There are four options available: a park bench for $1000/night, a secluded dumpster at West Valley for $25/night, a shanty at Jordan River for $50/night and an overpass tent at Salt Lake City for $100/night.
Havenwood said Airbnb did remove some of their listings, so they have created a GoFundMe instead for people who wish to donate. The nonprofit aims to keep the listings up until Dec. 25, 2023, and its goal is to raise $10,000.
“We’re asking you to donate the cost of a vacation stay on Airbnb, so that Utah youth[s] can spend another day indoors, safe and warm,” Havenwood wrote on their GoFundMe.
Around 20% of kids become homeless when they become 18 and “age out” of foster care, according to The National Foster Youth Institute. Furthermore, Havenwood said more than 1,300 Utah teens have experienced homelessness in 2022.