We’ve been residing in a tent for the past five months due to our inability to pay our $1,200 rent. In Maine, we are currently prepping for winter.


For the past five months, Lauren Bahre and her husband have been residing in a tent. She claimed that because of their meager incomes, they are referred to as “the working homeless.” This is the account of Bahre that Jane Ridley received. Join Morning Brew to receive the greatest tips for living more wisely. This essay, as it was recounted to me, is based on a discussion I had with Lauren Bahre. It has been condensed and trimmed for length.

In our little Maine vacation destination, I once worked at a hair shop. Wealthy clients would gush about the adjacent second property they had just bought.

Before going to a luxury restaurant for dinner, they would claim that they wanted a blowout. I would imagine myself returning home to a bowl of cereal.

Benji and I have a tent as our home. And as winter approaches, our concern over homelessness is growing.

In May, I left my position as the salon’s receptionist. I couldn’t handle the pressure of needing to be well-groomed all the time. I once received a scolding from the owner for donning a pair of filthy open-toe sandals. I had to decide whether to take a bath or wash myself in a river that was 40 degrees. I couldn’t even afford to have a pedicure; let alone nail paint.

We are considered to be “working poor,” Benji and I. He works as a barista at Starbucks, while I currently work for a cannabis dispensary. Our hourly wages of $17 and $15, respectively, are variable and not guaranteed. Our average monthly take-home pay is $2,400. Although it is above the federal poverty level, it is still insufficient to pay the rent where we both grew up.

WE DID NOT WANT A FORMAL COURT EVICTION NOTICE ON RECORD. We lack the funds to rent an apartment, therefore we are without a roof over our heads. Rent in our neighborhood might cost up to $1,800 a month, not including utility costs. In the last two years, the price has more than doubled. Because landlords use Airbnb for short-term rentals, finding long-term leases might be difficult. City dwellers who want a second house in a lovely location pay high premium for homes.

After my mother, who owned the two-bedroom apartment where we’d lived with my daughter for four years, began legal eviction procedures against us, things started to go awry. For January and February, we hadn’t been able to pay the rent. Even though my mother and I had a contentious relationship, I never imagined that she would throw us out.

We barely made ends meet. I then lost my work at a bagel shop after contracting COVID-19 and being unwell for a month. I eventually had to get a nebulizer since it caused me to develop asthma and risk having my lungs damaged. My hubby also understood it. He missed working two weeks.

Way Station . We located a site after driving up to the White Mountains National Forest. The order is first come, first served. There is well water but no bathroom or shower facilities.

Not staying in one spot for longer than 14 nights is the fundamental rule. If you don’t cooperate, the rangers will make you leave. You are not permitted to camp within 10 kilometers after that. Some of the other campers are curious and enquire as to your constant presence. We have now relocated at least seven times as the rangers have circled.

We have a small propane-powered two-burner stove set up for cooking. We consume a lot of carb-rich foods, such as macaroni and cheese, dollar store noodles, and pretty much any variety of potato. Almost anything that won’t spoil.

DUE TO OUR SITUATION, THERE HAVE BEEN MOMENTS WHEN I CANNOT STOP CRYING. At least for now, we’ve figured out how to survive. There is a nearby river where you can bathe. To enter, we dress in our swimwear. But if it’s hot and nobody else is around, we’ll strip off. Actually, it’s more difficult to tolerate the heat than the cold. Being outside when there is nowhere to cool off is tiresome. In the winter, you can at least layer up.

Looking back, the hardest part of camping was the initial few weeks. It was a result of both my long absence from my daughter and my worry of the future. There have been times when I can’t stop crying, usually on the commute home from work. I’ll reflect, “I’m done with the day, but I have nowhere to go home to.” All I have is a tent.

I’ve had a rock in my husband, who has kept me grounded.