Interview with Kalen Hayman, Coliving Digital Strategist and Former Member at Haven Coliving in Venice Beach, Los Angeles

I had the great opportunity to interview Kalen Hayman, a former member at Haven Coliving in Venice Beach, Los Angeles. We touched on a lot of important topics related to coliving and his experience living in Haven for 8 months before moving out due to a breakup with another member. “It was either her or me, so I moved out.” Below are a few of the topics we talked about.

Excerpts from the Interview

On the shift of how we think about privacy

KH: So the idea of privacy is shifting where people are more into living in community where the benefits are health and wellness driven. You can wake up, have a coffee and start or end your day with a conversation. It’s usually the best part of living in community.

On why coliving might not be that different from AirBnB or Uber

PB: I think 10 years ago if I had told you that you could ping a random stranger from an app and they were going to pick you up and drive you to a restaurant (reference to Uber/Lyft), you’d be like, that’s crazy. How do I know they’re not this or that? Or if I said, Hey, instead of staying at a hotel, you’re going to stay in some random stranger’s private bedroom (reference to AirBnB). These things all sounded crazy at the beginning, but were rapidly accepted by the mainstream as the value those services provided became obvious.

On the jobs and demographics of people living in Haven

KH: The coworking space was great for digital nomads and people that worked from home, which was about 50% of the community. Some people were in school, some people relocating for work, others traveling.

On whether it ever feels crowded or like you're around too many people

KH: You’re never surrounded by more than like a dozen people at any given time. And even that’s really busy and usually in the evenings. There’s a lot of people that live there, but no one’s on the same schedule.

On how long you should stay in a coliving communtiy with shared bedrooms

KH: I would say that three months is a good amount of time to live in any given shared community space, as some are designed to require that to reap the full benefits of living in a community and also for the community to fully embrace you.

On coliving expanding to different markets and demographics

KH: There are different businesses that will open up to family coliving, which I think is brilliant. I’ve seen things in Europe, all ages coliving, which I also think is brilliant.

I have two parents who aren’t together and live on their own. And I think they both could benefit from living in community, not retired and don’t need to live in a home. But I think there’s certainly benefits for living with other people of different ages and backgrounds.

On how to navigate enterting a romantic relationship with another resident

KH: I’m not in the relationship anymore. It lasted a few months. It was challenging. It was beautiful because of the space we were living in and the community we were surrounded by. I think if you end up meeting somebody in a coliving environment, especially if it’s coed, which most of them are, it’s probably best that you make plans as quickly as possible to move forward, whether together or otherwise.

On relationships in a coliving space

KH: It’s hyper-living. So relationships are really put under the microscope and you’re learning a lot about yourselves and each other. A joke I would make is that you live in a house of mirrors, so all your vulnerabilities are going to be triggered and show up very quickly.

On the benefits of community from a mental health perspective, intention, being vulnerable and feeling safe

KH: I actually wasn’t anticipating the benefits of living in a community from a mental health perspective, even though they did kind of brand themselves and market themselves to a health and wellness community. Living in community obviously takes you out of isolation and being engaged with people who are like minded, who are open and optimistic about who they are and what they want to do.

I felt like people shared their vulnerabilities openly, almost daily. Like the types of conversations they would come about from just living in community weren’t the ones I was expecting. But I think that there’s like a trust of… It’s almost like when you go to the bar, the bartender or a hairstylist to get your haircut.

It’s like these people are friendly, they’re providing a service, but they don’t really know your world outside, like your friends and family. There’s not a connection. So it’d be hard for a lot of that information to get back to anybody, you know? So you kind of just spill your guts to these strangers.

And you don’t really know why and it just feels good. So I think there was definitely a bit of that in the process of living in a shared space.

On the negative aspects of coliving

KH: Haven was so self contained, it became a bit of a bubble. Venice beach is already a beach community, so it is its own bubble.

Parking was an issue and they discourage people from bringing cars to their community because of the high volume, lack of access and neighbors that are residents there.

On whether introverts can handle coliving

KH: There’s certainly space and room for introverts in a co-living community.

Watch the full interview below

YouTube Link