For a long time I've been aware of the Couchsurfing network. The idea is that people sign up and offer their couches, spare bedrooms, etc. to interested travelers. It's easy to see the benefit for travelers from abroad or those who plan to travel abroad...it's like having a temporary exchange student with the potential to make friends in other parts of the world. Still, it has it's limitations and personally I've never offered or taken someone up on their hosting offer.
Last week, however, I was turned on to a site (via Twitter @bettrthanthevan) called Better Than The Van. Much like Couchsurfing.org, people can request places to stay or put themselves on the network with available places to stay. Though I have a tiny one bedroom apartment, you'd be surprised how even a living room floor is superior to sleeping in a van parked in some scary lot. If you can offer a shower or a warm meal, all the better. I've had a couple bands stay at my house (without using the network) and found the experiences rewarding and the relationships enduring. Now that I know there's a place to sign up and help out, I hope more music fans with available space and the right amount of generosity would be willing to host touring bands. I also hope that local bands take advantage of the network to find places to stay while on tour.