Meet a Cohabs member: Shanna, 24, English, living in New York

By Vivian Tejada Published 04/06/2024

We came up with the ‘Meet a Member’ series to give you a behind-the-scenes look at what living in the Cohabs Community is like. Let’s dive in and meet Shana who lives at our Malcolm X 34 house in Manhattan.

Who is Shanna?

I’m 24, from Redding, England, a town just outside of London. I moved to New York in December of 2021 for work and have been living in Cohabs ever since! I’m actually one of the tenants who has been living in my Cohabs home the longest. 

What do you do for work?

I’ve always worked in soccer. I studied international football business in England and moved to the U.S. in hopes of one day working for the World Cup. I currently work in operations at Major League Soccer. On the day-to-day I help manage operations, look after clubs, and get to travel for large-scale international games that happen across the country. 

What’s the best part about living in NYC?

It’s so different from anywhere I’ve lived before. It’s nice to have Central Park right there. It’s a nice escape from the city. There are so many choices it’s overwhelming! From going-out-spots, to brunch spots, to sports events—there’s always something to do. It doesn’t matter what you’re interested in whether it’s food, sports, or culture. 

What Cohabs home do you live in? 

I’ve been living in 34 West in Malcolm X since 2021 and I absolutely LOVE it!

What do you love most about it?

We have a wonderful garden—which is rare in NYC. We’re all friends with the house next door to us (they’re Cohabs too), so we’ll have barbecues in the garden.

My roommates are such a wonderful group of people. I travel a lot for work so a lot of my job is bouncing around the country. When I come home, it really does feel like coming home. It feels like such a little family. I’ve seen a lot of people come and go and the house vibe remains very familial, which I think is a testament to the selection process.

Tell me about your roommates. What are they like?

There are 16 of us, so we do family dinners most weeks. We have people from so many different countries and cultures. It’s nice to get together and have meals. It really feels like being back in college because we’re around people all of the time.

Once you leave college you feel like you won’t be around fun people again. It’s been nice to continue socializing in that way. New York can be a lonely place if you don’t have a network of people. Everyone kind of just goes about their own business. But at Cohabs, people go out of their way to be friendly and inclusive.

How has Cohabs influenced your time in NYC?

I don’t think I’d be as social if I wasn’t in Cohabs. People wouldn’t have recommended as many restaurants. I wouldn’t have gone to as many events. Living in Cohabs has improved my experience in NYC by such a significant amount. I have a solid group of girlfriends now and we live in the same unit. It’s such a wholesome experience. 

What were you looking for in an apartment before moving into your Cohabs home?

The price point at Cohabs was really good. Living in NYC is so extortionately expensive. Cohabs was a very reasonably priced option, as opposed to moving into a studio by myself. When I moved to NYC I didn’t have any friends here. Through coliving, I met people who could help me get acquainted with the local area. 

Nice! What would you say are some of the best spots around your Cohabs home?

  1. Our local taco spot is called Cantina Pregame. Their margaritas are amazing!
  2. There’s also a noodle spot literally right around the corner, appropriately named: the Noodle. It’s a real fan favorite in our house.
  3. We also live right next to Sylvia’s and Red Rooster, both quintessential Harlem eateries.

How was the process of securing a room at Cohabs?

The application process

I was pretty lucky. When I got my job I was given 3 weeks to move from Las Vegas to NYC. I inquired with Cohabs letting them know my timeline. I was lucky Cohabs had a room that was 4 or 5 days after I needed it, so I just stayed in an Airbnb until the room became available. I applied to the house, had a telephone interview with the community manager, and heard back shortly after. I think they also do a credit check.

The vetting process

In Cohabs NYC, each house has its own vibe. Ours is more family vibes. We spend a lot of time together, while other houses have more hostel vibes with more people coming in and out of the house. I think the phone interview is really just to see which house you’d enjoy the most, and to find out if you’d be a good fit for co-living in general. I think some people don’t know what coliving actually involves. But all in all, you’re really a part of the community.

Any advice to somebody experiencing coliving for the first time? 

Be the kind of person that you would want to live with. I think it’s a case of being a nice person.

You can find Shana on LinkedIn as Shanna Ellis and on Instagram at @shannellis_.

About the author Vivian Tejada is a freelance real estate writer from Providence, RI. She writes SEO blogs for real estate, travel and hospitality companies. She's passionate about the future of work and helping Latin American freelancers achieve time, location, and financial freedom. When she’s not writing you can find her at the gym, a family cookout, or at brunch with her girls.