Startup looks to connect travelers with Seattle hosts and use tourism dollars to help homeless

Tourists attracted to Seattle could see their money go to keeping families from sleeping on the streets at night. (Flickr Photo / Tiffany Von Arnim)

A new campaign spearheaded by a Seattle startup aims to help travelers to the city find a place to stay while also helping fund shelter for the homeless.

Horizon, a private home-sharing platform, is launching Stay a Night, Give a Night, an initiative that will allocate tourism dollars to help those in need. Instead of staying in a hotel or other accommodations, travelers pay just $14 a night to be connected to a local host. Those funds (plus a $10 service fee) are the equivalent of one night’s shelter for a homeless child at Mary’s Place, the nonprofit organization that cares for homeless women and children.

Horizon CEO Drew Meyers.

Horizon said in a news release that an estimated 1,200 children sleep outside every night in Seattle. 

“Giving back to the local community is an important way for tourists to form meaningful travel experiences,” said Drew Meyers, co-founder of Horizon. “This campaign allows tourism dollars to directly impact a societal challenge on the minds of Seattle residents: homelessness.”

Horizon, which was the subject of a GeekWire Startup Spotlight back in 2015, was founded in June 2014 as a way to help travelers find places to stay based on their existing networks, such as clubs, religious organizations, graduating classes, etc.

Here’s how Stay a Night, Give a Night works, according to Horizon:

To be a Seattle host:

For travelers to Seattle:

“Exploring a new city with advice from vetted locals beats all other travel experiences hands down,” said Bryan Copley, co-founder of CityBldr, a launch sponsor for the campaign. “Travelers have better experiences when equipped with insider tips, introductions, and knowledge. Horizon not only provides that, but I feel great that my travel dollars help address urgent social challenges.”

Meyers will be giving a 2-minute pitch for the concept at the Impact Travel Seattle launch event on Tuesday.