The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
My husband and I first began participating in Airbnb in Ohio. Our small town (with very few motel rooms) had been devastated by the loss of two manufacturers and the closing of a college. Artists in town began collaborating to boost arts & cultural activities to increase tourism and strengthen the local economy. One artist began a business of overnight art "getaways" for women and asked us if we'd provide a rental room for her guests. Our oldest child had graduated from college and moved, so we said yes and made his room available. Not long afterward, my husband's college professor job was eliminated, along with his department, after the Governor and state cut funding to the public colleges. My husband was three years from retirement age. He was well published, and began an intensive national search for another position, but at age 62, received no offers. He was forced to start early retirement payments and Social Security. I was working part-time in a temporary grant-funded job, but with the added expense of Cobra health insurance premiums of $14,000 per year, we were challenged to make ends meet. Having a room to rent on Airbnb provided a small, but important cash stream to our household. Last year we sold our home and moved to a more affordable state, but are maintaining an Airbnb room to supplement our semi-retired income. (We also are gratefully enrolled with federal healthcare insurance).