I feel you. I used to live in Boulder, Colorado on minimum wage ($3/hr in 1978). After taxes, take-home of about $98/week. I paid $100 a month for a room in a former frat house; as a college town, there was usually some form of marginal accommodation available. A car was an impossibility, but I did get a used motorcycle. Between jobs, I slept in the woods. I actually can’t remember much about how I survived. I probably ate a lot of starch, and didn’t wash my clothes much. But I never begged, or got food stamps, though I did crash at friend’s houses more often than my pride would have liked. And that’s what it boiled down to: survival and pride. No way I would hurt other people, though I was hurting desperately. One of the worst times I recall was when I had $15 to my name, and a kid on the Pearl St. mall offered me some hash for $5, 1/3 of my net worth. It turned out to be phony, and I was thinking as a buzz failed to materialize, surely this has to be rock bottom. Nope, it wasn’t. But I could always find a job there was a lot of small-scale manufacturing at the time, or restaurant work.
Is there a point in all this? Yes, I’m in awe at how much that real estate is sucking this country dry. Seems like all we live for is a place to live. The Bay area is insane