On the housing requests - not freecycle though...
I'm an avid participant in couchsurfing. I both host (mainly) and surf (rarely) and also attend local events. The site I use is a social media type of site and you can get a feel for the person before agreeing to host/surf with them.
1-4 nights surfing is the average. Couch surfing is about community, NOT a free place to stay and/or a substitute for a hotel. You DON'T treat your host like you would hotel staff. Its accepted that you will interact with your host/surfer. Surfers have cooked for us, we've had dinner parties, gone to movies together, gone to other events, and even took the most recent one with us on a driving vacation over the weekend to the Wisconsin Dells.
1: I was contacted by a woman who was part of a band for her, her hubby and a bandmate to stay with us Sat/Sun/Mon nights. I agreed. Day before, she calls me and changes it to just staying with us the Monday night. they have to leave town early on tuesday. . Ok... I suppose, we'll socialize on Monday evening (I work M-F, days). Monday comes... I wait for a call (I don't give my address out until surfers are on their way).... nothing... evening comes... nothing.... 11 pm comes, I go to bed. Wake up in the morning and I have a couple texts and voice mails from her. Their show (remember, in a band) got done at 1 AM and they expected to come crash with me then. Totally being treated like a hotel. Later, I read some comments on her couchsurfing profile left for experiences after mine and found out they did that to other people - changing plans at last minute, being treated like a hotel. They are no longer active on the site.
2: A woman sent me an email (not a stay request, that's important) and asked if she could surf with us for a weekend for a con at which she would be selling jewelry, I said sure, go ahead and send me a request. There's a separate section for requests and it keeps a calendar for you and reminds you. She didn't. Apparently she operated on "she said yes in email, so all is good". i got busy, didn't check that site's email (it used to be awkward) and just keep checking surfing requests. A few days after her con, she wrote a very nasty feedback about how I told her yes and then let her down, resulting in her having to pay a hotel bill and how she felt I owed her money. Ok, lots of things wrong with that. The community is NOT about being a hotel, I didn't actually have a request from her, and it's my house - the community tells you that you can change your mind at any time. I contacted the site admins and let them know. THe feedback was quickly removed and then she posted it again! I contacted them again, they confirmed that I was right and she is also no longer active on the site.
3: Another person sent me a request for THREE MONTHS.... this is way outside of the guidelines. I took someone for 5 weeks once - she was a college student here for an unpaid externship and started out asking by saying she'd contribute to utilities and food. This other person was coming to town for three months for a job and wanted to "experience" the area with people who lived here already. No offer of compensation. Also, when I looked at her profile, she had very little feedback from people she stayed with/hosted and a LOT of comments from people she traveled with that betrayed a lot of alcohol and perhaps drug use, as well as comments about urban "exploring" that seemed like vandalism, trespassing, etc.
4: I will cut and paste this one. This person was QUICKLY removed from the site. I suppose all sites get this sort of thing...
Hi . How are you ?)
I am from Baku . I want to immigrate to Canada . I would like even to find a girl for marriage to stay in Canada . If any help from you i get , i will be glad and pleased for you .
kisses for you , dear )
regards from Azeri Guy.
(p.s: you can see me when i am online)
my response: I have reported your request to the moderator of this site. This is neither a dating site or a marriage for green card scam site.
I also question your intelligence in sending this request for help scamming citizenship of CANADA to a MARRIED woman living in the UNITED STATES!
Go away, we don't need your type in this pleasant community of like minded travelers.