A former car rental company in New York is offering its drivers a new perk: the chance to rent out their cars for free.
The offer comes as the city continues to grapple with an exploding housing crisis, with the number of homeless families nearly doubling from last year.
It’s a situation that’s also causing many rental companies to reconsider their business models, with some seeing their profitability plummet.
According to Renting With Dignity, a nonprofit that helps people find affordable housing, there’s no shortage of businesses willing to offer free car rentals.
But they’re finding it hard to get the word out.
A recent study by the nonprofit found that about 50 percent of the companies that responded to a survey asked for a minimum $10 donation.
That means some companies are willing to pay $60 for an hour of work, said Michael DeAngelo, a founder of Renting with Dignity.
DeAngelo, who’s from the Bronx, said he wants to see a change in how companies view their customers.
He said he knows that it’s possible to make more money in the short term by renting out cars to other people, but that’s not necessarily the best long-term strategy for people who want to buy a home.
He also wants companies to recognize the importance of helping people find homes and businesses to make that possible, he said.
“It’s not an option for the average person who’s looking to buy an apartment or buy a house, and it’s not a way to make money for the wealthy,” DeAngelo said.
Deangelo said he hopes more businesses will offer the option.
“That will help more people realize it’s a really good option,” he said of renting out a car for free, adding that the rental industry is in a unique position.
A spokesman for Airbnb did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In addition to the rental option, RentingwithDignity offers a free service for its drivers, which allows them to list their cars online and pay out of their own pocket.
The company also provides car maintenance, repairs and maintenance tips.
If you have questions about car rentals or need to get more information about a rental company, you can call the company directly at 1-800-939-8100.