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‘Pod living’ sees 14 people living in one home for cheaper rent

Sleeping in individual pods in a shared house could help with unaffordable rents, especially for those starting a new job or working as an intern. (KGO via CNN)
Published: May. 2, 2022 at 11:53 PM CDT
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PALO ALTO, Calif. (KGO) - As rent in parts of the United States becomes out of reach for some, a new concept in California is gaining traction. “Pod living” allows for multiple people to share one home.

The rent for a three-bedroom, two-bath house in Palo Alto, California, could easily run $6,000 to $8,000. But the 14 residents are only paying $800 per month. While they share the kitchen and other spaces, each resident sleeps in a pod a bit larger than a twin bed.

“Our pods are actually eight feet tall, so it gives enough room for bigger people and also some wiggle room, so they’re not like the Japanese capsules. They’re a little bit larger,” said Christina Lennox, the co-founder of Brownstone Shared Housing.

She designed the pods and said she can cocoon in one all day. Each pod is outfitted with a temperature-controlled fan, lighting, a fold-down desk and any personal touches an individual wants to add.

Lennox and co-founder James Stallworth wanted to address the need for affordable housing. They tried to do this in New York but ran into objections. However, Palo Alto doesn’t set a limit on renters in a single-family house. They also found a cooperative landlord.

“We told them about our concept and the benefits of it and how it would help people, and the landlord was interested,” Stallworth said.

The residents are all in their 20s, getting started in their careers or doing internships.

Luis Alsonso, a resident from Peru, loves having access to the kitchen. He says sleeping in a pod is fine.

“For me, I don’t need a big space. Every night, when I go to sleep, I need just one bed,” he said.

In a year, the idea for pod living went from a concept to affordable housing for 20 at two sites, financed mostly by savings and family.

“I don’t mind depleting my savings like this, as long as I’m able to bring this to the world. That’s all I really care about,” Lennox said.

The shared housing company is also operating in Bakersfield. They’re hoping to take their concept nationwide.

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