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Traveling nurses struggle to find short-term housing in the Midlands

Finding a place to stay isn't easy for nurses in the area working due to the pandemic.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Hospitals in the area are struggling with staffing shortages due to the coronavirus. As a result, many hospitals are using traveling nurses.  

Traveling nurses are registered nurses who work in short-term roles at hospitals, clinics and other health care facilities. 

Many of these short-term nurses are struggling to find short-term rentals and places to stay in the Columbia area. 

One Midlands man is trying to do his part. 

George Park, is renting part of his home to traveling nurses, working because of the pandemic, at local hospitals. 

"I provide a place for them to stay and they're generally looking for a place to sleep because they work hard," said Park.

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Sheri Pittman, a registered nurse from North Carolina says, "Travel nurses are necessary because the hospitals are very filled."

She went on to say, "There are a lot of people that don't want to rent to nurses because they don't know if we have COVID."

That's where George Park's spare room comes in.   He said, "Had this finished room over the garage that was hardly ever used and I was thinking about doing an Airbnb, somebody said did you think about traveling nurses."

He said once COVID hit, he didn't want to people coming and going, he wanted long-term stays, "Within 48 hours I had a young man from Idaho asking me if he could stay here."

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He says his property is listed on Furnished Finders, guests get their own bedroom and living space, bathroom, access to the kitchen, WIFI and can use the pool.

Pittman is the current tenant, she says  the pandemic has made it very difficult to find short-term housing. "It can take time because there are lots of nurses looking for housing."

"A lot of housing, if you don't jump on it, its gone", she continued,
" Airbnb a lot of people use it, I don't because there a lot of fees attached to it."

As for Park, he says, he just wants to help those, who've dedicated their lives to helping others.

"Here are people doing us a service and they need a comfortable, safe place to stay... It makes me feel good that I am able to provide something that they need."  The rent for the space is $750/month. 

George says he has hosted three nurses since he started renting out his place this year.