If you really want cheap rent in San Francisco ..
If you are looking for the cheapest rent to be had in San Francisco, how do you find it? Aside from scamming off your friends and couch surfing your way across the city – which will probably leave you with less friends, after not very long at all – seeking creative solutions to short term housing has become an obsession of sorts for some locals.
There are many options for finding the cheapest rent possible in SF, some of them more creative, dirtier or riskier than others. Here’s a few that you might check out.
Camping – There aren’t any campgrounds within the city proper, with the exception of the now-disbanded Occupy camp, which was a good deal for people who wanted to pitch tents in a public place and simultaneously express their political opinions. You could, however, camp across the Bay in Marin and come back into the city via ferry, bus, bicycle or public transportation. Convenient? No. Inexpensive? Yes. Getting to sleep outside? Many deem it priceless.
Homeless life – A scary option, but one that could provide you with multiple free resources, would be to join the local homeless population. You’d be supported by non-profit soup kitchens and health care providers, and have the chance to sleep in a free shelter, provided that you observed their rules and were drug and alcohol free. If you are legitimately homeless and can’t afford the cost of San Francisco rent, the city has resources that certainly can help, including affordable housing programs. They’ll encourage you to get a job and may provide you with a temporary shelter while you get back on your feet.
Sleep in your car – There are laws specifically prohibiting sleeping in vehicles on the streets of San Francisco. If you try it and get caught, don’t say we told you to do this. Plenty of people do, but you’d have to be stealthy about it.
Couchsurfing – but not with your friends. Use a website like Couchsurfing.org to find people who actually want you to sleep on their couch. (Why? We’re not sure, but kudos to them for putting up with it.) You’ll meet new people and hopefully not develop too many severe back problems.
Hostel stay – Join the ranks of visiting Euros and head for a hostel. This is perhaps not the best idea in the summer months as they are likely to be especially crowded. If you don’t mind sharing a bathroom, sleeping in a dorm, and zero privacy, you’ll be good to go with this. Keep an eye on your personal belongings, theft in hostels is typically rampant.
Tech hostel – The New York Times recently highlighted a creative hostel experience that’s uniquely San Franciscan. Tech “hacker hostels” are hosting programmers and other super smart folks, who must be accepted for residence, for about $40 a night. The experience is very hostel like but also includes the brain-firing experience of being around other top minds all the time. Sounds like a great scene – if you can hack it.