In California, ‘pod’ style of living is making rent more affordable :: WRAL.com

— Rent in some parts of the United States is becoming out of reach for some, but a new pod concept in California is gaining traction for allowing multiple people to share one home.

The rent for a three-bedroom, two-bath house in Palo Alto could easily run $6,000 to $8,000 per month, but residents in one such home are paying $800 per month. While they share the kitchen and other spaces, the 14 residents sleep in pods 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,” said Christina Lennox, co-founder of Brownstone Shared Housing. “They’re a bit larger.”

The pods are outfitted with a temperature-controlled fan, lighting, a fold-down desk and whatever personal touches residents want to add.

Lennox, who designed the pods, said she can cocoon in the cozy spot all day, as do others.

She and co-founder James Stallworth wanted to address the need for affordable housing.

They tried their concept in New York but ran into objections. Unlike many other places, Palo Alto doesn’t set a limit on renters in a single-family house.

The co-founders 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 in this home are all in their 20s and say sleeping in a pod is fine.

Luis Alsonso from Peru loves having access to the kitchen.

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

In a year, the idea went from a concept to affordable housing for 20 at two sites.

The program was financed mostly by savings and family.

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

The shared housing company is also operating in Bakersfield, Calif. Lennox and Stallworth are hoping to take their concept nationwide.