California sleeping pod business hopes to alleviate affordable housing crisis in the state

A California company is looking to help alleviate the housing crisis in the state by offering “sleeping pods” to people. 

Brownstone Shared Housing gained widespread attention over the last few years as a way to combat the housing crisis by offering comparably affordable living quarters within 3.5 feet wide and 4 feet tall private beds. According to the business’ website, rent for one of these beds range between $500 and $900 per month depending on the building location.

The three building options, located in Palo Alto, San Francisco and Bakersfield, hold at least a dozen of these beds along with communal bathroom and kitchen arrangements.

However, the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection is investigating the California business for potentially lacking the proper permits to build “sleeping pods” as well as any other additional work on the property.

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Sleeping pod arrangements

Brownstone Shared Housing offers sleeping pod arrangements at $500 to $900 a month in California (Brownstone Shared Housing)

“We have opened an investigation to determine if there is a code violation. The complaint was referred to DBI by the City Planning Department. We won’t know what permits are potentially required until a site visit and evaluation is conducted,” Department of Building Inspection communications director Patrick Hannan explained to FOX News Digital.

An update to the San Francisco Permit / Complaint Tracking System reported on Thursday that an inspection is scheduled for Monday between 10 and 10:30 a.m.

In a statement to FOX News Digital, Brownstone Shared Housing co-founder James Stallworth called reports of the investigation “overly sensational.”

“When a local news publication reached out to the City about the pods, asking if there were any potential code violations, the Buildings Department did the right thing and opened a case. Specifically, they are looking at whether installing the sleeping pods involved any unpermitted work on the building. Our pods are just furniture – we set them up similarly to IKEA furniture. I am not aware of any permits required to set up furniture. We will work with the Buildings Department to resolve the matter appropriately,” Stallworth said.

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San Francisco homeless tents block sidewalk

30% of the homeless population lives in California. (Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Inspectors previously found that the Palo Alto location had several code violations in 2022. 

Palo Alto Weekly reported that “the house failed to have smoke detectors in the sleeping pods; used extension cords instead of permanent wiring; had possible over-fusing with multiple-plug strips; had exposed wires outside the building; included poorly installed wiring; had an illegally converted garage and unpermitted, remodeled residence; included furniture that obstructed exit doors and paths and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors needing battery replacements, among other findings.”

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California currently holds approximately 30% of the nation’s homeless population. According to Zillow, the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco is approximately $2,701 per month.

Stallworth explained that his business offers a “practical solution to the housing crisis in places like San Francisco” and provides “comfortable places,” all “without the need for costly, time-consuming construction.”

San Francisco

The median rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in the San Francisco Bay Area is approximately $1950 per month (iStock)

“Governments can help by diverting just a fraction of the billions spent each year on affordable housing and homelessness to more innovative solutions like our sleeping pods. We are open to working with the California government in any capacity to help solve the housing crisis. As Coach Prime says, we aren’t hard to find!” Stallworth said.

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