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General Assembly Building

With General Assembly, cofounder Brad Hargreaves helped build a company that fills the gap between what’s taught at school and what skills are needed for work. Now, he wants to fill a similar need between dorms and leases. "The biggest problem that our students would always have at General Assembly is how do they find low-cost, flexible housing that has some of the same community values that we built, " he says. "Many of our students can’t qualify for leases."

Brad Hargreaves

In response, Hargreaves quietly founded a coliving company called Common that will facilitate group living (or "coliving") by screening roommates, paying utilities, setting up a kitchen, and providing shared supplies like paper towels and coffee. Residents at its first space, a 19-room apartment building in Brooklyn that is scheduled to open this fall, will pay for rooms on a month-to-month basis without a long-term lease.

Millennials are moving to urban areas at a faster rate than any previous generation, and the average rent rates in cities like New York and are at record highs. Even if a fresh graduate could afford an apartment in, say, New York, where the average non-doorman studio, by one estimate, costs $2, 385 per month, landlords typically require two years of tax returns and an annual income of 40 times the monthly rent (so, in the case of the hypothetical studio, $95, 400). If you haven’t been working for two years, don’t make a ton of money, are new to the city, or don’t want to be locked into a full-year lease, your best bet is finding roommates on Craigslist. Good luck with that.

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