This woman chose to go homeless in San Francisco instead of paying high rent

Kristin HanesKristin HanesKristin Hanes

“Looking at me, you’d never guess that in 2015, while working full-time as a reporter for KGO Radio, I became ‘intentionally homeless,’ begins Kristin Hanes in a post in San Francisco blog The Bold Italic.

She was in her mid-30’s and living on a journalist’s salary in a city where the median rent price for a one bedroom is about $3,500. She hated that she didn’t have enough cash to pay down debt and save money, too.

So, she joined a gym, put her stuff in storage or otherwise disposed of it, and moved into her car with her boyfriend where they drove to various campgrounds at night.

She didn’t have a toilet or a kitchen or electricity or TV and cable, but “in the first 40 days alone, I paid off $3,700 in debt and saved $2,500 on rent,” she says. “And we had a blast, roasting salmon in foil over campfires, playing guitar and drinking beer under the pinprick lights of a thousand stars.”

And on the weekends, with no home to clean or maintain, they were free to travel out of town.

During those months, she spent about $400 a month on living expenses: $200 for the gym; $150 for the storage and about $50 a month for various camping costs.

After four months, she felt that she had saved enough to go back to the world of housing, and rented a room on a houseboat shared with roommates.

And then in May, she got laid off from her job. So she moved onto her boyfriend’s sailboat where they are both living full time.

“I haven’t found a job yet but am doing part-time voiceover work in the Bay area, which still isn’t enough to pay the rent anywhere, not even a room in Oakland. So, for now, I will continue living on my boyfriend’s boat until I find a full-time job,” she tells Business Insider.

She’s also freelancing and writing a blog about living on budget living called “World on a String.”

To save money this time, she gave up her car, bringing it to her mum’s house in Portland along with the stuff that wouldn’t fit on the boat.

She’d go homeless again

Ironically, the experience of being homeless on purpose has actually been a comfort to her as faces more financial uncertainty and reboots her career.

“I would definitely do the homeless thing again,” she tells us. “I think it’s worth it to be slightly uncomfortable and do without for a few months in order to pay off debt and save money. Being cash positive and secure is my number one priority. It gives me a safety net when I get laid-off, the ability to travel and plan for my future.”

I think it’s worth it to be slightly uncomfortable and do without for a few months in order to pay off debt and save money.

At the same time, the situation has turned her off of living in San Francisco. “For me, personally, it’s not worth it right now to live in San Francisco. I would much rather live in a place where I can afford at least a room in a house.”

Yet, she’s till hopeful that the city will come up with some better, affordable housing options.

“I think it’s a beautiful and vibrant place to live. But it’s becoming so unaffordable that it’s chasing the very people away that make it a vibrant place – the artists, the musicians, the dancers, the teachers, the writers,” she tells us. “I hope somehow San Francisco reverses course and once again becomes a city where people from all walks of life can be and thrive.”

Read her full story “Why I Became Intentionally Homeless in San Francisco.”

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