Some people let you stay in their room or will have an entire condo for you. I've noticed that some of the same hosts also rent out the same room on airbnb. Most people won't accept you if you have no references and aren't verified. If you are thinking about getting a host then to be safe, make sure they are verified and have references. Always read the references reviews and cross check the references themselves. The easiest way to get references is not to go to a host, but to go to an event. You can find events for your own city or other cities by searching in the events section. You can also host your own.
I set up an event for San Antonio, TX once and 6 people signed up but I cancelled due to the weather. There's an event I want to go that has 200 people attending. I also saw that the host requires at least 5 references if you want to stay at their place before/after the event. It's hard getting references if you aren't willing to travel. I have one reference from a local nurse I met at a bakery who met her hubby when she went couchsurfing in China. I am getting more references soon in Nashville at an event and by a host. I might update this thread with a review of my first host.