EA* Hotel with free accommodation and board for up to 2 years. Buildings in the seaside holiday resort of Blackpool (UK) are really cheap. Last year, Founder Greg Colbourn bought a 17 bedroom hotel with dining room, lounge and bar for £130k. With catering, cleaning, management, bills, and a modest stipend, we are able to host people for < £500/person/month.
We make grants to individuals and charities in the form of providing free or subsidised serviced accommodation and board, and a moderate stipend for other living expenses. The trustees apply the charity’s funds at their discretion and in accordance with the charitable purposes and objectives of the charity.
Potential grantees are those who want to:
– further their education, via self-study, in fields such as economics, philosophy, science, AI, programming etc, in order to contribute to future efforts in various charitable activities related to Effective Altruism (EA), without having to worry about – or waste time – getting mostly irrelevant paid work in order to fund themselves;
– immerse themselves in desk-based research on an EA-related subject without having to worry about fundraising, a job, grants, teaching, tenure etc;
– work on a mostly software or research based charitable project without having to worry about runway.
Applicants are invited to apply by filling out the form here (selecting the first or second options).
For stays of 30 days or under, the Community Manager or any Trustee can make a decision. For stays over 30 days, the Community Manager or a Trustee will conduct video interviews with promising applicants. A report will then be sent to a committee of Trustees and Advisors to score applications on a scale relative to donating the cost of hosting the applicant to GiveDirectly. Space permitting, an estimated expected value of the proposed work of 1x donating the cost of the stay to GiveDirectly is the bar to acceptance for grants of free stays (0.5x for subsidised stays). This bar rises with diminishing hotel capacity. A decision to reject or accept the application is made by majority of Trustees and/or Advisors assessing that application. Individual Trustees can veto applications. Trustees and Advisors can also contest applications, at which point there is further discussion and a decision made by the Trustees.
Whilst some kind of pledge to work on useful EA things is required (“I pledge to work towards doing the most good that I can whilst staying at the hotel”), there is no formal requirement for people to produce more value than is put in to help them. Given the low costs involved, it’s a fairly low bar to clear anyhow. And just one major success will make the whole thing worth it. A useful analogy might be a catered and managed university residence (paid for by a grant), or perhaps even New York’s Chelsea Hotel, which produced billions of dollars worth of art, despite many guests not paying rent (and was an inspiration for this project).
Blackpool may be fairly dull most of the year (outside holiday season), but with ~15-20 EAs staying at the hotel at any one time, a vibrant community has been built around the hotel itself. More detail here.
If you’d like to discuss a proposal for a free or subsidised stay at the hotel (working on EA projects) get in touch.
See the wiki for information for guests.
*EA = Effective Altruism, see here.