Co-Living: Shared Housing

Become a member of a housing network

10 min readJul 14, 2019


Demand for housing in major cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco is at an all time high with prices continuing to climb and the lack of affordable options painfully clear. That supply isn’t increasing anytime soon with development deals taking 3–5 years with a price tag around $300k-$500k per door (“over 85% of projects in the pipeline featur[ing] a residential component … being positioned as “luxury” housing”).

The millennial generation, whether living with their parents or in periphery towns, are daydreaming of travel in city life. They are okay with not owning “things” if that means owning “experiences” — and they are willing to give up privacy for the right price and location. So this mobilizing trend begs the question of what should the future of housing look like and how can we both afford travel and living in the city? One answer is with the increase, diversification and dispersion of co-living housing stock.

Housing is unaffordable in major cities

Housing has become more and more expensive due to a combination of
- heightened demand
- lack of supply
- gouging prices of market rate and new developments.

California has 3.5 million fewer homes than it needs.

Housing in cities like Los Angeles has become more and more unattainable. Today, 55% of the world’s population lives in urban areas, a proportion that is expected to increase to 68% by 2050. Having your own apartment in Los Angeles city will run you $2,384/ month and in San Francisco it’s a whopping $3,612/ month. Don’t forget to add in the downpayment, application fees, proof of employment, utilities and furnishing costs. It is no wonder that 1 out of every 3 Angelenos spends over 50% on housing alone. These steep prices pose a huge barrier — especially for the part-time, lower income or recent graduates (often debt ridden). Moving to the big city to get a job and pursue a better life is not only harder than it was before, for some it’s nearly impossible.

Living with your parents?

The commitment-phobic generation of millennials have opted to crash with their parents, whether to save up some cash or due to lack of alternatives. According to the 2017 American Community Survey, approximately 39.3% of young adults between 18–34 years old in CA were living with their parents. This generation is not only postponing the responsibility that comes with the manicured lawn, they are delaying marriages, children, even owning a car.

Who is moving in & out of state?

The high price of rent is impeding people from moving in to the state and 53% of Californians are considering moving out. This is creating an environment where only those wealthy could afford to live. The Bay Area will need 660,000 new housing units to provide for an estimated 2.1 million more people who will move to the city by 2040. Stats show that people want to live in cities — last year, 82% of North America’s population lived in urban areas.

Take that leap of faith. But it may cost you $7,000

For many, these questions prevent them from leaving the parental nest or affordable town:

  • No job: How will you show proof of income or know where to live so the commute is short?
  • No roommates: If you can’t afford a private place, how are you planning to meet potential roommates before moving in?
  • No apartment: Are you comfortable paying for a place off the internet without ever seeing it or the neighborhood? What if you show up and it’s a scam or not a right fit?

So, what options are there for someone to “buy time” while they extend by the night or week to apartment, roommate and job hunt?

  • Friend or relative’s couch for as long as they’ll have you
  • $120-$160/night on a hotel or airbnb
  • Cheap hostel that will limit you to 14–28 nights and require an out of state license

Whatever your timeline or reality, just make sure you have saved up enough. It’s scary to read that 40% of Americans would have trouble coming up with $400 for an emergency.

PodShare was born in 2012 as a safe and affordable option for travel and transitional housing in the centers of expensive cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco.

To remove burden, PodShare doesn’t require security deposit, accepts cash, and offers prices 50% cheaper than a local hotel or apartment, flexible durations, 10pm check-out time, and transfer across 6 neighborhoods.

If you can only choose 2:

Privacy vs. Cost vs. Neighborhood

  • You pay the highest price for privacy in a great neighborhood
  • You pay the lowest price for no privacy in a less sought after neighborhood
  • You pay a middle-range price for no privacy in a great neighborhood

Is Privacy a Privilege?

Rewind a few hundred years and you’d see that privacy is a relatively new construct. In fact, it was a luxury that few but the elite could afford until the Gilded Age with the advancement of the industrial revolution. It was only then that the mass population saw a real redistribution of wealth allowing for the lower class to get a taste of privacy. Society has never looked back. Privacy became such a norm that it is in large part considered a right and not just a choice. But where has that gotten us?

Our society has secluded itself in single rooms, driving our cars alone, on the way to cubicles or glass offices. We build literal and figurative fences around all things that are “mine.” We can Skype or FaceTime people in different time zones but 46% of Americans “report feeling lonely sometimes or always.” The lack of physical connection and interaction takes a toll. There is a reason the worst punishment for a human is solitary confinement. People have created private spaces to control when they make interactions (such as going to the bar or on vacation) — instead of having no control over when those interactions come naturally to them. Why have we moved so far away from community living?

Benefits to Co-Living

The notion of sharing is neither new nor groundbreaking. But the co-living movement isn’t just about affordable rates and ramen in the cupboards. There are additional benefits of cohabitation such as safety in numbers, positive affects on mental health, faster dissemination of information (eg. earthquake warning), networking, and learning opportunities. Humans have long grouped together in clans, tribes, boarding houses, and communities. We come together in dangerous situations or protests because there is power and protection in numbers. If you are just one person trying to protect, feed and nourish yourself, it is much harder than having a community of 10 people who are all playing their part in support. This is why microfinance or “village banking” has an incredibly high repayment rate of over 97% in its worldwide network, compared to 55% of students nationally defaulting. Students are left to fend for themselves in the real world, while “it takes a village to raise a child.”

From world wide web to world wide housing

The millennial has quickly become the poster child for travel and experience spending: chase your dreams, work remotely, photograph everything, take on freelance/consulting work, travel light, and commit to as little as possible. With 4.8m Americans defining themselves as a “digital nomad” and 27% of American’s surveyed saying they plan on becoming digital nomads in the next 2–3 years, it begs the question of whether we need to form a new housing category?

If a universal housing membership was an option, travel would no longer be considered a luxury that few could afford.

Imagine if all-access 24-hour gym membership applied to other spaces in your life? You could pay 1 price to live across the world with all utilities paid for. Monthly bills wouldn’t keep you up at night or overdraft your account because you’d rely on one fixed cost, and never run out of toilet paper or detergent.

In a traditional housing model, you are limited to one address and contractually locked into an annual lease with variable fees. That means every time you travel, you still have to pay for your current apartment plus a hotel or Airbnb’s nightly rate. So a week away would tack on hundreds to thousands of dollars to your monthly rent. What if you could subscribe to housing and just transfer your bed?

If you could access a home anywhere in the world and pay for it with remote work, then you’re a mobile freelancer or “digital nomad.” Right now traveling is synonymous with vacation, but we think it can be a way of life.

Things: the notion of “mine”

“Access not ownership” means you don’t need to own one of everything if you can just borrow it. The price for toiletries average around $10 a month, hairdryer ($20), Pots/pans ($50), Printer ($100), desktop computer ($500), Adobe CC ($25/mo), TV ($750), washer/dryer ($900) — and you can’t take it all around with you.

Remember, you joined a gym so that you could have access to different machines, zero maintenance, a daily cleaner, and good vibes? Does it matter that you don’t own the machines? Nope, and it’s the community that motivates and keeps you accountable.

Why buy & carry around everything you need when you can just have access to everything?

The more you accumulate, the more expensive it gets to store, remember, and maintain.

What if you unburdened your life of “things” like Marie Kondo, but took it one step further with access not ownership? At PodShare, basic needs are included in the cost of your bed.

Of course, your bed is not shared, and your belongings are yours to be locked away from others (including your toothbrush), but so many people trust to leave valuables in their pods, and donate food to the community. We believe that trust is formed when members of a community are transparent.

Birth of the Sharing Economy

The rise of the sharing economy stemmed out of the 2008 recession when we had to find creative ways to save and make money. Airbnb and Uber are service-based search engines with a databases of lenders and borrowers for homes and cars. Most customers have their own home and car, but are saving money by renting another person’s rather than a hotel or taxi. In this economy, regular people lend their home as a hotel and their car as a taxi to earn extra income, without any major barriers to entry.

As a nation, these technologies disrupted our everyday lives because they forced us to trust complete strangers in close proximities, and willingly relinquish ownership and privacy.

PodShare Offers a Choice

PodShare founder, Elvina Beck, was hungry for a solution to afford living anywhere in the world. But since she couldn’t afford to travel, she resolved that people from all over the word could travel to her. In 2011, she dreamt up a sharing housing model, then invested her last dollar into building it at Hollywood/Vine. Elvina wanted to live the life of Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego alongside the diverse backstories of MTV’s real world.

“Housing in the cloud” with a “no-privacy” floor plan and a rotating door of roommates was a sociological experiment from day one — Elvina moved right in as Podestrian #1 and has lived in a pod ever since.

Everyone should have access to housing.

PodShare was created to give everyone the chance and choice to shared housing in the heart of the most expensive cities. Not just because it’s affordable, but because it makes us more emphatic humans. The community is made up of people who collide, befriend, co-work, date, tattoo, move out, move back in, roomie up, and break down pre-conceived notions of foreign cultures.

We’ve hosted over 65,000+ people from all over the world in 220 hand-built pods. We’re a nightly exchange of intro and extroverts who chose to be little less lonely from one night to one year.

Our grand mission is to grow a housing network. We support globalization.

We’re seeking partners with whom to quickly and substantially increase the supply of diverse housing stock to meet the ever-growing demand for affordable housing in cities where opportunity and economic vulnerability intersect.

Live where you work, travel for a living, call the pod your home, build an ever expanding community that spans the entire planet, challenge your biases, break down stereotypes, find comfort in discomfort, but do it all for one affordable rate.




We build affordable shared housing, with unlimited transfers and access to our network of neighborhoods, for any duration of time.