My Interview with the Redeye

Photo Curtesy Of Google Images

So Airbnb asked me to do an interview with the Redeye newspaper and Fox news about my experience as a host. Airbnb showed a huge spike in bookings on Chicago’s south side since last year. The bookings skyrocketed by more than double and the goal was to find out why? What’s happening on the south side? Below is the actual list of some of the interview questions followed by my response.

Hi Jessica,

How long have you lived in Bronzeville?

Do you rent out your entire apartment or a room on Airbnb and at what price?

When did you start hosting on Airbnb?

How long have you been a host on Airbnb?

How many guests have you had?

You said the income from Airbnb helps you  pay your rent. How much is your monthly rent and how much money have you been able to get from Airbnb roughly?

You referenced the many new developments and festivals in your neighborhood. Can you provide a couple examples that I could cite?

And lastly, can I get your age and would you be willing to be photographed for the story?

Thank you!

(Have a great weekend!)


My reply:

Being a host for Airbnb is great but  it’s been difficult on the south side of Chicago.

How do you consider Chicago a world class city when you treat half of it like it doesn’t matter? That’s the question I present to my self when I think of what it’s like to hold the roles of policy makers that live in this city. I’ve found that Airbnb is a service needed in Chicago and particularly South side neighborhoods because it provides economic advancement opportunities for the communities.

Opportunities to use services like this are not just substantial to neighborhoods like the exception or restricted “Hyde Park”, or travelers using the service but in up and coming neighborhoods that actually need the service, working class and mixed income neighborhoods alike.

All the direct avenues of economic allocation, whether it’s by commerce or commission, get’s directed to the already affluent parts of the city because majority of the hotels are located there. This kind of economic structure ultimately prevents opportunities of economic advancement so people can become self sufficient.  Unfortunately, as result of gentrification, many hardworking community members like myself are rebuilding communities we’re to often forced out of because we can’t afford to stay.

Airbnb and services like this allow for economic redistribution in the city by putting us in position to maintain our residency. It’s a great creative avenue to consider in order to provide an additional source of income. It also teaches potential prospects or host the benefits of monetizing resources and assets. I was able to afford my rent as result of booking out my rental unit for various weekends throughout the summer. If it wasn’t for this service, I wouldn’t have been able to keep up on the rent alone.

I was successful at booking out of town guest because most were excited to explore the many new developments in my area many which included new businesses. As result of working with non for profits like The Urban Juncture Foundation and Creativity In Motion, i was able to provide great insight to all the new eateries, art galleries and centers, Gardens and etc.
 The opportunity to explore the many festivals and experience the true authenticity of the city, made it easy. 4/5 of my guest booked with me for those reasons.

Airbnb as an additional source of income allowed me to maintain my bills while finally moving into a space to maneuver economically and explore and maintain practices like saving and investing.

By taking on the role of a host, community members are more likely to stay consistent in promoting the maintenance of community and property standards because we move into a space of accountability which changes our perception of our value to the community.
 When people see opportunities for ownership or even management they take better care of their space and position in it.

Airbnb is a great example of training for future property management and or ownership. The concept basically tells community members, “get paid to keep your space and surrounding areas nice”. It’s another residual benefit to the community and city and can be another step closer toward meeting self sufficiency standards for residents, particulary in low, mixed and working class neighborhoods, which can only be a good thing for all citizens of the city.

Answers to interview questions that were not answered via this post can be found in the actual article. Feel Free to check out here: If you have experience as a guest or host of Airbnb, please share your feed back via the comment section below.

We’d love to share tips. Stay tuned for my next Airbnb post, i’ll discuss in greater detail some of the pros and cons of being a host on the south side of Chicago and feasible solutions.



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