2016 Grants Challenge

Building a Co-living Community for LA's Homeless Youth

Idea by Podshare

PodShare builds affordable live/work communities with custom-designed pods, open floor plans, and access to a network of locations to co-live, co-work, and collaborate.


Are any other organizations collaborating on this proposal?

PodShare for Homeless Youth' would be serviced by one or more non-profit partners who would identify WHO stays, for WHAT duration of time, and HOW they can benefit from communal living., , The following organizations have expressed interest in collaboration:, , Representatives of the ’Hollywood Homeless Youth Partnership' (LA LGBT Center and Children's Hospital) and County of Los Angeles, Department of Children and Family Services (75% of emancipated foster children experience homelessness).

Please describe your project proposal.

PodShare will build a pilot program for transitional housing for Homeless Youth in Hollywood to host 40 individuals selected by partner organizations, for a period of up to six months while they seek long term housing. The property will offer co-living pods for sleeping, shared co-ed amenities, a 'maker's lab' for content creation, and hospitality job training with placement to PodShare and hotel service companies. Each youth pays a nominal fee and must either have or be actively seeking a job.

Which of the LIVE metrics will your proposal impact?​

Housing affordability


Resilient communities


In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

Central LA

Describe in greater detail how your proposal will make LA the best place to LIVE?

If LA wants to be the best place to LIVE, we need to offer more places to live. One solution to LA's homeless crisis is to build creative communities using vacant buildings and 'pods' as adaptive re-use of small spaces.

Pods utilize vertical height and cubic airspace to comfortably host up to 4X more people than traditional bedrooms. The PodShare team has developed and tested our co-living model since 2012, housing over 6,500 guests across three locations at a 94% occupancy rate.

We found that our pods appeal to millennials who are traveling or moving to the city and need an affordable place to stay while apartment and job hunting. 87% check in solo, and almost everyone meets new friends.

This grant can help develop an innovative solution to a city-wide obstacle by applying the PodShare model to homeless youth, which closely mirror our demographic.

Sharing saves money and serves many. PodShare comfortably built 10 pods in 1,000 sq ft and 18 pods in 2,000 sq ft with space allotted for co-working, a kitchen, restrooms, game room, computers, bicycles, and laundry. PodShare is seeking a leasable 4,000 sq ft property to build 40 pods with shared amenities.

Bunk beds are for kids, pods are for adults. Our model cured the rickety top bunk problem and replaced the ladder with a comfortable stairway. Incorporating technology and minimalist design, each pod has its own TV, light, outlets and storage.

Co-living is transparent. We believe that if community was a shape, it'd be a circle; and so, the pods face each other. Each 'Podestrian' can see every one, with their name written above or below their head. “Within the realm of social psychology, the proximity principle accounts for the tendency for individuals to form interpersonal relations with those who are close by.” Whether serendipitously or as a product of intentional community, identification creates a natural introduction to fast friends.

The open floor plan offers maximum social collisions, but also cultivates accountability and self-policing to prevent any inappropriate behavior. You can read community stories at

All of our locations promote the collaborative trend with access to a 'maker's lab' comprised of amenities like a sound recording booth, green screen, and computers. The proposed location will allot space for content creators and encourage collaboration.

Getting 40 youths off the street and into a supportive community is a start, but our program will also implement a hospitality training course to create viable applicants for PodShare and other hotel partners.

We have met with local nonprofits and community leaders, and the consensus is that it best serves the client to charge a nominal fee (likely on a sliding scale) so that the youth develop responsible fiscal habits. Fees can be offset through government subsidies, private donations, and possibly even housing vouchers. The goal is to create authorship and autonomy.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.​

Over the years, we have seen many Podestrians move out of the pods as new roommates at apartment buildings nearby. If we can create an open community of like-minded individuals who live/work together, then maybe we can cultivate supportive communities for homeless and recently emancipated youth.

Short term success in launching this project will involve:

- Signing a lease for a 40 pod location, and building the pods and community space.

- Seeking gift-in-kind sponsors for ongoing supplies.

— Signing partnership agreements with nonprofits regarding daily operations and staffing.

Long term success involves evaluating:

- The percentage of youth who transition from our program to longer term housing.

- The number of individuals we can help find jobs at local hotels, motels, and property management companies through our hospitality training. We will look to existing organizations like the LA Kitchen and Homeboy Industries for key metrics and milestones for job training and placement.

- Our ability to secure additional and sustainable funding to lease, equip, and staff this pilot location.

- The location’s ability to foster communal living without conflict. The strength of our screening process with be tested within the first few months of the program, and we may need to reevaluate.

- Surveying clients and partners to identify which resources are most beneficial, and how we can meet not only physical needs, but also encourage creativity and growth.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?



Advisors/board members



Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles


Technical infrastructure (computers

Community outreach

Network/relationship support