By Walter Hamilton
(MCT)—Despite working 18-hour days, including part time as a waitress at a strip club, Hope Arnold was on the verge of losing her Los Angeles home.
Then she discovered Airbnb, a website that links vacationers seeking an alternative to hotels and homeowners with rooms to rent.
Billing her place as an “artsy and rustic 1927 treehouse,” she started renting out her master bedroom, while she slept in the den. It paid off. Arnold has made $39,000 on Airbnb in the past 12 months, and the site now accounts for as much as 70 percent of her monthly income.
“It has been a financial savior for me,” says Arnold, 39.
Originally conceived as a way to make a few extra bucks, Airbnb has emerged as an unexpected lifeline for struggling homeowners — but one they are now trying to preserve in the face of a growing backlash.
Echoing concerns in other cities, officials in Los Angeles’ Silver Lake neighborhood, where Arnold lives, complain that Airbnb has taken over their community. The neighborhood council is contemplating a crackdown to reduce noise, traffic and parking problems.
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