What's the worst place you've ever lived?

I’ve been homeless for five months now. I have a decent job, so not sleeping rough homeless, but in the lowest sort of SROs while trying to save up that first+last+deposit. Hotel rates and having to eat out all the time due to not having access to a kitchen are impeding said saving.

The place I’m typing this from is so low-end it’s BYOTP. No bedbugs (knock wood) but there’s not even anywhere to hang a towel in the shared bathrooms, which are occasionally a horror movie. No joke, I once saw something prepping inside the toilet for a Stranger Things dimensional violation.

I’ve lived in worse conditions, but not while having a well-paying not-too-stressful job. What the hell is going on? I’m not a drug addict, although I do like my bourbon. My credit is mediocre, so I’m not sure if I can prevail upon my credit union for a nut. Any suggestions aside from “move to BFE and work remotely?”


I did a stretch in a YMCA once; it wasn’t as much fun as the song suggested. Probably 90% of the other residents were men 40-60 who had been divorced, lost their jobs, and were now working at something marginal and/or were burdened with high debt or heavy alimony. Made for a weird kind of comradeship; there was lots of sharing and commiserating over cards in the evening. (I was well under 40 and single, but was suffering from the fact that my employer, the Government, kept screwing up payroll and not paying me, so I was trying to stretch some meager savings.)


Sofa surfing in squats & staying on caravan floors in Hanham, Bristol in the early 90s. Trainspotting really glammed up that whole scene, believe me.


This really sucks and I’m sorry that you’re going through it. It’s really tough to put money away for an apartment when you don’t have a stable place to stay or any extra income…

I take it you don’t have any family near enough to sleep on their couch until you can save up? That would be my first line of defense. Otherwise, maybe check around for friends who are looking to move and see if you can work out a room mate deal with them? Have you looked around for people posting ads for roommates? If you live in a city with a large university, that might be a possibility. Grad students are always looking for someone else to share their rent, as they don’t have much $$$ (and extra bonus, they’ll likely not be around much, as they’ll be in the lab, teaching, or in an archive somewhere).

Working remotely from somewhere cheaper sounds like something you don’t have any interest in doing, but that might be an option, at least for a short while. If you can live far enough out and take a cheap place, it might help you get back on your feet enough to move back to where you really want to be.

Once again, good luck! I really hope this all pans out for you in the long run.


Some people might say the worst place I ever lived was under a bush in the woods.

But I would say the worst place I ever lived was college housing.

My roomates were two freshmen and two seniors. I was a 24 year old sophomore transfer student.

The two upperclassmen deep fried a hundred or more chicken wings every single night and served them to mobs of friends with hot sauce, celery and blue cheese dressing. They never took the trash out once in the month I lived there. Instead they packed the greasy cheesy garbage into rectangular brown paper shopping bags which they then layered against the wall like lego bricks. When I left, they were starting on the second layer, having filled the wall to the ceiling.

There were maggots hatching in the living room carpet in December.


I just heard on the radio this morning that the highest average rent in Los Angeles County is in my neighborhood: Pasadena, where a modest 2-bedroom apartment goes for an appalling $2600/mo. That’s substantially higher than my mortgage payment. I can’t see how anyone can afford to rent in this town.


Looking back, I’ve been very fortunate. The worst I got was a flat so small that the bedroom was really just the bed, the living room had no space for anything except a sofa and a tv, and huge spiders came to mate on the windowsill each September – but it was the first place I really felt “mine”, the first flat I did not have to share, and I was almost sad when I left it.

The worst memories are of a previous flat, which I shared with a soon-to-be-ex girlfriend; the flat itself was fine (in its '70s UK working-class block sort of way, well maintained and with lovely neighbours, a retired heavily-tattooed sailor and wife), but the last few months there were pretty excruciating, as you might imagine – even more so when the guy in the flat below started banging a girl pretty much every other night, with her being a right screamer.


$2600 for a two-bedroom! That’s a studio here, and not the movie kind.


This is a killer. I’m with Mindysan on trying to split a place, because that would save a ton on food. I hope things improve for you soon.


Channeling François Bonivard via Lord Byron:

At last men came to set me free;
I ask’d not why, and reck’d not where,
It was at length the same to me,
Fetter’d or fetterless to be,
I learn’d to love despair.
And thus when they appear’d at last;
And all my bonds aside were cast,
These heavy walls to me had grown
A hermitage—and all my own!
And half I felt as they were come
To tear me from a second home:
With spiders I had friendship made,
And watch’d them in their sullen trade,
Had seen the mice by moonlight play,
And why should I feel less than they?
We were all inmates of one place
And I, the monarch of each race,
Had power to kill—yet, strange to tell!
In quiet we had learn’d to dwell—
My very chains and I grew friends,
So much a long communion tends
To make us what we are:—even I
Regain’d my freedom with a sigh.


Man… I have been fortunate. No idea what you should do. I wish I could help but I have no income right now. How much longer do you figure you’re gonna need to save money? Is there a friend you can crash with for long enough?

I really hope things work out for you. This sucks.


Studios in Pasadena go for around $2000, on average, according to the same news report.

I’m reminded of the studio in Hollywood I inhabited in 1992 for $380/mo. That size mortgage payment (including property taxes and a 4% APR) would serve a mortgage worth maybe $60K, which might buy you 1/3 of a mobile home in Riverside County. The way things are now, it was looking to me like the housing bubble was hitting renters even harder than it was homeowners.

I don’t know where you live, but I’m glad as hell I don’t have to rent a $2600 studio. I work in television and have no debt outside of my mortgage, but $2600 for a studio apartment is too rich for me.


Oh! But my worst place to live was a shared house which my roommate’s boyfriend’s mom’s boyfriend was renovating. It was all drywall inside and my room had a curtain over it. It was pretty much all uphill from there.

But seriously, @L_Mariachi, good luck! Housing in major cities in America are literally all shit right now. Something needs to change, yesterday.


Shitty, cheap-ass hotels suck balls. I did a stint in flophouses and the worst had to be waking up in bed because of the cockroach running across my chest (under the sheets). It wasn’t the first or the last, but that particular moment I recall my apathy getting along so well with my drunkenness that I simply laid there and let the thing run wherever it was heading.

At the very least, that was the point where it finally registered that something had to change in the situation. And I realized fully, then, how remarkably easy it is to slip into homelessness and all the nasty things that entails.

Some of those flophouses allowed access to a shitty microwave located somewhere near the lobby, so if you can find that level of cookery there are plenty of quick pasta meals that should keep you from the pricier foods with a modicum of taste/nutrition.

Good luck in getting out of that situation…btw, you in the Northeast?


Hey, at least they had the good sense to use blue cheese instead of ranch dressing. Fuck ranch.


No, SF. This hotel has zero amenities but I’m termed out next Friday. If they let you stay >30 days apparently you gain all sorts of tenant rights and can be a pain in the ass to evict. Some of the other places I’ve stayed have minifridges in the room and microwaves in a communal area (and civilized bathrooms! and maid service!) but those are at minimum $120/night. Nice enough inside, but the neighborhood is thick with crackheads and junkies and other people who have very loud vocal problems with each other or thin air. It’s not scary (to me,) but it’s not exactly tranquil.


Worst place I’ve lived seems to be relative.

I’ve had decent lodgings and horrible roommates, decent roommates and horrible lodgings, and horrible roommates/lodgings at the same time.

Usually, the horribleness centered around college age students with poor life skills. Past roommates included –
The botany major who would leave the sliding glass door open so her cat could wander in and out, but couldn’t seem to figure out why the electricity bill was so high.
The arts major who was really into college indie/rock and would invite bands to crash over on my couches or floor after shows. The last straw was when I walked into the kitchen one morning to find a roadie shooting heroin.
The guy I rented a room from who seemed very controlling and passive-agressive. I truly think he was terrorizing my cats when I was not at home.
The alcoholic who blacked out every time he drank, would come home and play Independence Day every night because he couldn’t make it all the way through, piled empty beer cans in the oven because he couldn’t find the trash can behind the pantry door, and vomited on my brand-new guest mattress, turning it over instead of cleaning it up. I found it because of houseflies. He lasted 10 days.

It probably goes without saying I don’t believe in the “benefits” of having roommates anymore.


That was him being considerate! Wouldn’t you rather have him nodding off at the breakfast nook instead of inside the locked bathroom?


Well, I was a steady marijuana smoker during college, so one might think me a hypocrite…but I never toked up in someone else’s home unless I was invited to do so.