Business & Economy

#MyFirstRent: When $900 in LA only gets you a shared room at a hostel

File: An apartment building in Southern California.
File: An apartment building in Southern California.
Jean-François Chénier/Flickr Creative Commons

We're looking for your stories about the first place you lived in Los Angeles and how much you paid for rent. Read a story from one of KPCC's own, and share yours!

When I first moved to Los Angeles, I didn't have a job. I didn't have any friends in the city. But I did have one thing: a place to live.

The hostel was simple, but attractive, with light pastel paints evoking the Southern California feel. The living quarters were set up like college dorm rooms — with two or more of us in most rooms. At a grand total of about $900 a month, paid week to week, it wasn't cheap, but that's what comes with a place that's not meant to be more than a transitional home.

It was also the place where I had food stolen out of my hands while walking home — twice. Note to self: pay attention to your surroundings.

Still, it was clean, and the people were fascinating. I met paparazzos, English travelers, aspiring chefs and aspiring Scientologists. We put up holiday decorations together and helped each other figure out L.A. It's where I first connected with other people after my move — I still have the DVDs one of the other tenants gave me as a memory of that time.

My move paid off when the job interview I'd lined up before moving led to an actual full-time job. I went on to face other housing problems in my early years in L.A. — I dealt with cockroaches ($800 a month), a Craigslist roommate who got us kicked out and ran off with my deposit ($900 a month), a skunk spraying under my room ($800 a month) and more — but I kept pressing forward.

I'm thankfully now in an apartment that's a lot less likely to produce another of these stories.

Do you have any stories about your first apartment in L.A.? We want to know when and what neighborhood it was, and how much you paid in rent. Let us know in the comments below, or on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #MyFirstRent. Share a photo, if you've got one!

Series: L.A.'s Housing Crisis

This story is part of KPCC's in-depth coverage of Southern California's housing crisis. Follow along as we try to answer: How did we get to this point? What’s being done to fix the problem? And where do we go from here?