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Social Parents Program for Low-income Students - Powered by Airbnb

This is an accommodation service for students studying in the U.S. that makes good use of Airbnb. In this program, the elderly will give lodging to young people. In return, they will receive a small monetary compensation as well as social delight.

Photo of Seiichi Okura
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I have a host father in San Francisco. Although he is in his late sixties and a Caucasian, he is still running a real estate business. When I asked him why he registered as a host family, he said that he had a Japanese wife and they had a child. However, unfortunately, they lost their child 10 years ago. His death left a huge vacuum. Since then, He has accepted more than 10 foreign students, especially Asian, each year.

So older people (60 years or older) are still active, and they are looking for an active role in our society (As you can see from “UN report on world population aging 1950-2050”), and they are filled with a motivation to earn their living for as long as possible and to help people when possible. Furthermore, they are trying to return their wealth to young people by providing time and lodging.

On the other hand, what is the outlook for young people? As you can see from the graphs above, they are looking for the opportunity to share the load of raising their children (“Wage difference between each generation”, ”Increasing of the expense of bringing up children” from Forbes online 2013).

So I imagine that, if people like my host father in San Francisco become more prevalent, we will change our perception of seniors. If our generation cooperates with them, we will develop a new eco-system of human resources. Even if the times are changing, young people still have a desire to have a baby and want their children to have a better opportunity for education. These are universal needs for our society. And each person has a possibility to be the "helping hand" of society.


To give an active role to the elderly and return the fruit of their experiences and resources to young people in order to create equality in income.


Social parents program for low-income students


Seniors (60-70*) *Age limit exists


We will create programs to match the abilities of older people with the needs of young people of all ages (including college) in the U.S. Through these programs, seniors will give time and lodging to younger people. In return they will receive a small monetary compensation as well as social delight. Instead of cheaper accommodation fee, all the students applied for this program have to help with household chores of each host family.

1) For Foreign Students.:

To start a home stay program for poor college or language school students who come from another country.

2) For Students in the U.S.:

To start a home stay program for poor college students who live in another remote state.

Furthermore, we will launch an aggregation website about information for host families for young students in the U.S. This website not only allows the elderly to register their house for our program, but it also allows all staff from colleges to language academies to find a home stay for students.

How might your idea scale and spread to reach as many people as possible?

At the beginning of launching this service, we will be able to acquire a lot of publicity because the thought of this service is catchy. And consequently,all users will spread this service through the main SNS: Facebook, twitter, Google+ and craigslist. After taking a lesson from mentors, we will succeed through WOM effect on the society. That is not all. Based on a great idea that Annie Lin (Challenge Community Champion) gave me, by making good use of Airbnb (, we can not only promote this service to youngsters, but also can make the launch cost cheaper.

How might your idea attract and involve partners from health care, business, government, nonprofit or other sectors?

By involving the three important players listed below, we will be able to maximize the value of this service and will be able to attract both the elderly and the youth.

1) Colleges and Language schools

This is the most important partner of this service. We have to approach colleges and language schools and encourage them to take advantage of this service. It will be a good opportunity for school to increase their number of clients and prospective students. Furthermore, if possible, we have to work with them and the elderly to discount the accommodation fee for low-income students as much as we possible can, by an understanding of the main purpose of this service.

2) Airbnb or Agency managing the aggregate site of accommodation for students

We also have to approach Airbnb as a business partner, and ask them to not only include this program on their service, but also discount the fee for low-income students. (We hope that this opportunity will bring some ‘shower effect’ for Airbnb.)

3) Local Government

The local government will want to support this service as it generates huge social benefits that will help curb: rising child-rearing expenses, the widening of the income gap, the trend of the nuclear family, focus the loss of local contacts, and middle age divorce.

How might you design an early experiment or prototype to further develop your idea?

We need to execute a pilot project of this service in some limited areas in the U.S. (a college town is desirable from the viewpoint of safety and the demands of both the elderly and younger generations.) Our mission is to make this service more popular by means of aggregating all information regarding accommodation for students in the U.S. and sharing them on Airbnb. Actually, this kind of service (home stay or accommodation for students) has already been common among colleges and language schools; therefore the feasibility of this service is quite probable.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Annie Lin

LOVING this. So awesome that it will provide value to both older and younger generations, and richer and poorer people, in various ways. It's also great that you tapped into your own personal experiences (and provided sound quantitative data). Your idea reminds me of almost an Airbnb ( for elders. Without making this too technical, I do wonder what your thoughts are around liability? Would the hosted youngster also be expected to care for the hosting elders in some way? If not, what happens if the elders need assistance one day?

Photo of Seiichi Okura

Your idea is really great! At the beginning of planning, although I just tried to aggregate websites who recruit for home stays in the states. Actually, I worried about how to make a motivation for youngsters to do a home stay in an elderly persons home. However, by making good use of Airbnb (, we can not only promote this service to youngsters, but also make the launch cost cheaper. Regarding your concern about liability, I think that it will be necessary for kind of person who is in charge of accommodation in a college or language school to play a role as an agent to assist the elderly while registering and screening for home stay applicants.

Photo of Meena Kadri

Great build on leveraging an existing and trusted platform like Airbnb!

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