Tuesday, July 23, 2024

From Jennifer M., Feb. 23, 2017: Home sharing websites such as Airbnb have allowed many Cambridge residents, including me, to stay in our homes, even as the cost of living has continued to increase in our neighborhoods.

I have lived in East Cambridge for a decade and teach high school Spanish. When my husband died unexpectedly six years ago, it became a struggle to pay my mortgage each month. I was able to get by for a few years, but eventually could no longer afford my mortgage on just my savings, so I began renting out my spare bedroom on Airbnb.

In those three years I have hosted people from across the country and across the globe. I have met interesting people and shared what I love about living in Cambridge with visitors from around the world.

Most importantly, renting on Airbnb has allowed me to stay in the place I’ve called home for more than a decade. Airbnb has become a lifeline. By sharing my home I have been able to spend my years approaching retirement with the friends who have become family in the neighborhood I built my life in.

I hope our city councillors will consider the many Cambridge residents who rely on home sharing to get by as they consider new regulations on short-term rentals. We should have the right to share our homes, especially if it helps us stay in the neighborhoods we’ve lived in for years.

This letter came via an Airbnb in advance of the March 1, 2017, meeting about short-term rentals to be held by the City Council’s Public Safety Committee. The letter writer asked that her full name be withheld from publication; her identity was confirmed.