Chicago eyes Airbnb fee to help domestic violence victims

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CHICAGO — Chicago may impose a new surcharge on home share rentals through sites such as Airbnb and use the money to provide more beds at domestic violence shelters.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Tuesday the 2 percent surcharge could generate about $1.3 million.

The city currently operates 140 shelter beds for domestic violence victims. The mayor’s office says that number could be increased by 50 percent through the new surcharge.

Emanuel says finding a place to sleep can be “a real challenge” for victims. He says increasing the number of shelter beds also would allow the city to provide more supportive services, such as counseling and legal advocacy.

Chicago in 2016 imposed a 4 percent surcharge on platforms such as Airbnb. That money was used to help the homeless.

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