Cathy Davis of Hosts for Hospitals explained the purpose and functioning of this local organization. It was started in 2000 as a collective community effort to provide temporary affordable housing for patients and their families coming to use the extensive medical facilities of the Philadelphia area.
People find out about this program through their medical provider, through the website, or by word-of-mouth. Hosts are not expected to entertain their guests or to provide meals or transportation. Any kind of house iss eligible, though the program coordinator will establish a profile of such things of how many people can be expected, are stairs necessary, how long will the people stay, can they deal with pets? etc.
The current fee is now $20 per night for the first two weeks, then dropping to $10. This is not a national program, just a local one. The only similar one that Cathy knows about is a program in Boston.