How do you define being homeless? Because when I think of being homeless, I think of someone who sleeps on the street, panhandles, and has some sort of debilitating disease or addiction that has forced them to live in a back alley or on the sidewalk.
I don’t know much about San Francisco other than that I frequently see people online complaining about how ridiculous the rent is there. If you’re not making money hand over fist as a tech entrepreneur, it seems that you’re doomed to live in cramped quarters with roommates well into your 30s. Having a roommate after age 30 sounds incredibly awful, but people really seem to love the Bay Area so I guess all I can say is “to each their own.” Kristin Hanes (who is in her mid-30s) was working full-time as a reporter for KGO Radio in San Francisco last year when she decided to become “intentionally homeless.”
We talk a lot about people “checking their privilege” and focusing on someone/something other than themselves, but the only thing I gathered from this article is that classifying what Kristin Hanes did for four months should not be referred to as becoming “intentionally homeless.” Homelessness is a huge issue in America and it’s just a bit insulting to say that what she was doing was in any way comparable to living on the street.
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. “We had a blast, roasting salmon in foil over campfires, playing guitar and drinking beer under the pinprick lights of a thousand stars.”
While I am impressed that Kristin was able to save a shit load of money and not be shackled by rent and living expenses, it’s an insult to actual homeless people to say that she was homeless. Living out of a car and sleeping at campgrounds does not qualify as being homeless. If you want to call yourself homeless, you need to live on the street with the rest of the masses, Kristin. You need to pick up a drug habit that will take precedence over everything else in your life. You need to ditch what I’m assuming was some craft beer under the stars and start drinking Steel Reserve under the unforgiving street lights of the city. Drinking beer with your boyfriend in the back of his Subaru while you cook salmon over a campfire is called camping. That’s not called being homeless.
Kristin lived in a car with her boyfriend for nearly four months before deciding that she had saved enough money to move onto a houseboat with roommates. If that isn’t the most San Francisco thing of all time, I don’t know what is. Like, of course, she lives on a houseboat channeling her inner Shane Falco and most definitely tells people at parties about the time she “went homeless.”
Would I want to live out of a car for four months to save a few thousand dollars? No, definitely not. I value a shower, my mattress, and a kitchen far too much to ever live out of a car. If we were talking about a Winnebago, I could probably be convinced. But living with your significant other out of a car sounds fucking miserable. I don’t know how she did this for four months but more power to her. Just clarify that you weren’t actually homeless, please.
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.
Best of luck to Kristin and her boyfriend. If push comes to shove, they can probably just go back to living out of a car..