The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
Dear Sir or Madam, My husband and I purchased a home in Mendocino county in late 2012 intending it to be our retirement home. In November of 2012 I was laid off from my job of 23 years. As a woman in her mid-50s with 20+ years in the same industry (publishing) I found it impossible to find a new job with comparable wages and benefits. My husband and I thought we would need to sell our new home, but decided we would try sharing it on vacation rental sites to pay the mortgage and other costs and to help cover my medical premiums. It has succeeded. I now work part-time for my husband, a veteran who owns a small medical manufacturing company with 15 employees, while managing our property. We are comfortable sharing our home with guests who are carefully vetted and reviewed by other hosts. Sharing allows us to keep our home and helps us keep our small business viable. Our guests also generate significant sustainable, local economic activity that supports the small businesses in Mendocino, Sonoma and the other counties they travel through which rely heavily on tourism. We have enjoyed hosting guests from England, Italy, Norway, Brazil, France, and all over the United States as well as local travelers looking for a weekend getaway. Our story is not unusual. I urge you to acknowledge the benefits of the sharing economy both for folks like me who've been displaced economically but want to work hard to make ends meet and to be successful and for the local businesses who benefit. Thank you.