Housing Woes

While I still have options open to me and there’s probably plenty of terrible, shitty apartments I could still live in, I’m being pretty effectively priced out of the city I’ve lived in or near for the past nine years. I moved here in the final days of 2013 and I won’t be able to afford it without some kind of miraculous intervention or massive income shift by the end of June. My apartment’s rent is going up by a few hundred dollars (apartments in the complex are listed for 350 more than I’m currently paying and I’ve got six more months on my lease, so who know how high they’ll be by then) and this place isn’t worth what I’m paying for it now. It’s constantly leaking cold into the apartment through the exposed foundations and poorly insulated floors/walls, I’ve been trying to get a leak from the roof properly addressed since August of 2021, and I can hear every movement any of my upstairs neighbors make.

I moved here in the first summer of the pandemic because I didn’t have a lot of other options. There wasn’t much that was open at that point and I couldn’t stay at my old place thanks to difficulties with one of my roommates there. I settled for a place I could afford, that didn’t look like shit, that had all the major features I wanted, and that wasn’t a super long drive away from everyone I cared about. Unfortunately, living here hasn’t exactly been a pleasant experience and the only thing keeping me here was that I couldn’t find anything better the past two years. Turns that this wasn’t a fluke of the pandemic. Turns out the area has just gotten incredibly expensive.

So now I’m going to be forced to do what a lot of other people I know have done. Either uproot my entire life to live someplace more affordable, get some kind of roommate (my hope was always to establish some kind of healthy, long-term romantic relationship so I’d be able to comfortably split rent with someone in additiona to all the other benefits of such a relationship), or resign myself to overtime and an extra job so I can continue to afford to live somewhere in this incredibly expensive city. None of which are terribly appealing, aside from that one about having a nice, long-term romantic relationship but that’s not really a realistic option at this point. I would have had to get the ball rolling on that one a while ago and I’ve had zero luck in that department.

Looking around, though, it is clear that nowhere is immune to the increasing costs of rent. Some places are just going up much more slowly than a lot of major cities seem to be. I’ve looked at a few other places, ostensibly places I could only live if I was doing some kind of fully remote job with maybe one or two exceptions, and they all seem so much more reasonably priced right now. Some of them would even be fun places to live, given what I’m looking for nowadays, with the pandemic still in full-swing even if most people are denying it and an increasing number of my friends scattered to the corners of the US. If all of my relationships are already digital, it doesn’t really matter where I wind up going so long as I still have at least one solid connection nearby.

I’d love to live somewhere with a bunch of my friends. In a something similar to a dormitory if college dorms were built for comfort and communal living rather than to get as many people as possible into as little space as possible. Private living quarters with shared relaxation and food preparation spaces. Everyone gets a little apartment/large bedroom dealie with enough space for whatever they need to be comfortable by themselves, and then all of those are just a little bit removed from places we can section off or open up into a bunch of semi-private or completely open shared spaces. Room for video games, movies, doing puzzles, hanging out, table top games, and more. Taking turns preparing big meals, eating lunch at whatever time you want, moving between private and shared spaces as the mood takes you… What a dream that would be.

Unfortunately, such endeavors tend to be fairly expensive, since it would probably require quite a bit of planning and extra work to make it that comfortable. The plumbing distribution would be a nightmare, since I don’t think most people would want to share their bathrooms like many dorms do. The space required would also make it cost-prohibitive anywhere near a city and being that far removed from a city would make internet and electricity stuff expensive, too, unless we had a solar or wind farm on the property. Which, you know, is doable. It’s just more work. Like pretty much every solution to my current housing problems.

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