News / Toronto

Toronto homeless peoples' bedding posted to Airbnb in charity stunt

“Spacious home with ceilings” read one posting, showing a homeless person’s sleeping spot under the Gardiner Expressway.

This add was live on Tuesday for a full day before Airbnb pulled it down. The company sent a

Courtesy of Edelman

This add was live on Tuesday for a full day before Airbnb pulled it down. The company sent a "nice" note to the charity explaining that the company supports its goals, but the stunt was not allowed.

Airbnb had some pretty cheap options this week for people seeking out a place to stay in Toronto: Only about $25 a night for a street corner of their very own.

“Quaint space on best street,” read one posting accompanied by a photo of a homeless person’s bedding at Queen and Victoria streets.

“Spacious home with ceilings” read another, showing a homeless person’s sleeping spot under the Gardiner Expressway.

The photos weren’t staged, but the spots weren’t really on offer. It was a guerilla-marketing stunt/fundraiser organized pro bono by public relations firm Edelman on behalf of Engage and Change. And, it worked.

Airbnb pulled the ads after about 24 hours with a kind explanation that they violated terms of service. But, the photos have since taken on a second life on social media, driving donations to Engage and Change.

“In order to get people to think about homelessness, we need to be really, truly disruptive because people tend to get numb and forget about it,” Jody Steinhauer, the nonprofit’s founder said, explaining the approach.

The nonprofit distributes winter survival kits — comprised of a sleeping bag, winter clothes and other supplies — to people who are homeless. It costs $25 to put each one together.

For more info about the winter survival kits go to engageandchange.org.