First Time Voter
Homelessness in the Bay Area
Joe Auteri is a contractor currently living out of his truck. The rising cost of housing in the Bay Area has driven Joe to homelessness. With his home--the backseat of his white Toyota--Joe roams job to job in order to make a living.
Auteri approaches his situation with a bit of optimism.
“There are a few benefits [as a contractor] being homeless,” says Auteri, “given that I work geographically in the greater Bay Area.”
His truck has become more than a mode of transportation: it’s his shelter, his kitchen, and his business. When accepting a new job, Auteri will drive to his client’s home, and set up shop nearby. This allows him to be incredibly efficient as a contractor, but restricts his ability to settle down.
Of course, this comes with a new set of challenges.
“Most people don’t understand is how much it costs to be homeless,” says Auteri. “If you want to live in a motel, that’ll cost double what you pay in rent [...] or just feeding yourself. It costs a lot to eat out constantly.”
Auteri finds a bit of security and privileges that come with living in his car. He makes deliberate effort to separate himself from the common stereotypes of a “homeless person,” by maintaining a fresh appearance and bathing whenever possible.
As it is now, Joe doesn’t see himself finding a permanent living situation. He makes enough just to maintain his current living situation.
“I do have aspirations to once again at least rent,” says Auteri. “I just don’t see it happening anytime soon.”