Airbnb Delivers Economic Empowerment

Millions of visitors from around the world come to Los Angeles each year to visit the area’s world-class beaches and dozens of cultural and entertainment options. These visitors spend billions of dollars on lodging, dining and other activities around our city. Until recently, the majority of that spending went to large entertainment companies and hotel chains. Thanks to the sharing economy and companies like Airbnb, residents like myself finally have an opportunity to directly benefit from the city’s tourism industry.

I own a home in Westchester, about an eight-minute drive from LAX. Every day I am aware of the thousands of travelers that come to our city, but I never thought it was something that I — a teacher and small business owner — could benefit from.

I moved to Los Angeles when I was 18 years old to study and pursue my career. My dream was to one day own my own home and run my own business. Years of hard work began to pay off when, 12 years ago, I was able to purchase my own home and open up a preschool and daycare.

Things have not always been easy. A few years ago, I dislocated my arm. With no health insurance and most of my income going to pay medical bills, I was struggling to pay my mortgage and was at risk of losing both my home and my business.

When I explained my situation to my friend, she suggested I try home-sharing on Airbnb to help earn some extra money. It was a natural fit for an entrepreneur like me. Sharing my home allows me to use my people skills to earn extra income from the home that I have invested in for over 12 years.

I no longer have to worry during the summer months or times that enrollment in the preschool is down. I have even been able to expand my business to employ three assistant teachers who help me instruct students in both English and Spanish.

I recently learned that women who participate in the sharing economy through sharing their home on Airbnb earned $6,600 last year in extra income, which is enough to cover more than 60% of the gender wage gap in the U.S. In addition, more than 10,000 women hosts across the country have used their Airbnb income to support their own entrepreneurship, according
to a report on

by Airbnb’s policy team (@AirbnbCitizen).

For many of us, home sharing has been an opportunity to deal with the rising cost of living in big cities like Los Angeles, and has given us a path forward in this new economy. Being an Airbnb host has allowed us to have a new source of income not to get rich, but to stay in our homes and support our dreams.

Mariza Mendoza

Owner, Readiness Family Daycare, Westchester