(WTNH) – As inflation has led rent prices to soar to new highs, renters are seeking out innovative affordable housing.

After rent went down drastically during the COVID-19 pandemic, almost 20 to 30% in some places, landlords are trying to recoup some of their losses.

The U.S. median rental price hit a new high of $1,827 for the 14th month in a row as prices in all categories continue to surge.

For Gaby Sa, a summer intern at Stanford University in Palo Alto, finding reasonably priced housing was a necessary struggle.

“I was thinking about staying on campus or maybe renting a studio, but living by myself was too expensive,” Sa explained.

The price of an average studio apartment in Palo Alto has gone up 9% over the past year to nearly $3,400. This price was far out of Sa’s range, until she came across Brownstone Shared Housing, a start-up offering sleep pods in a communal home.

For only $800 a month, Sa has a private sleep pod and access to a shared kitchen and living space. The home is occupied by 12 residents, including co-founders James Stallworth and Christina Lennox.

Stallworth and Lennox came up with the idea after facing their own housing insecurities. Lennox noted a high influx of applications, citing its accessibility.

“This is a really great option because there’s no security deposit,” she said.

Sa has had success during her first week in her pod.

“Basically, that’s where I spend my time. Where I sleep, where I do some research. I thought I would take more time to adjust. But actually, it was super nice and smooth,” she noted. “Everyone here is just so nice and polite and we respect each other a lot. So week one has been great!”

In Chicago, where the cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment has also risen dramatically, Eric Ziegenhagen decided to return to living with a roommate and move into the spare room of his lifelong friend Sarah Dandelles.

“It’s a great opportunity because we’re all spending more on everything else than we thought we would have been three months ago even,” Ziegenhagen said.