The Shmooze

Cardozo Law Student Chooses To Be Homeless

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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A Cardozo School of Law student who identifies himself only as “David,” has some serious first world problems. You know, like the kinds of problems that involve being able to afford a home with a warm bed to sleep in, good food to eat, nice clothes to wear, and somewhere safe and clean to bathe.

So burdened was David by these problems, that he decided to do away with his apartment and just live on the street (well, sort of—as you will soon read). In other words, in a time when so many people are having their home foreclosed upon them, David has deliberately chosen to be homeless.

But the real question is whether David’s brand of homelessness really counts as homelessness, as most people understand the term. In an interview with The Observer, the official newspaper of Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women, David explained that he gave up his apartment and now spends $30-40 per month on a health club membership so he can shower and store his belongings in several lockers there. He also uses a locker at the law school. As a student, he has access to the couches in Cardozo’s climate controlled libraries, where he naps between classes and his internship during the day. He sleeps outside, bundled in layers of sweatshirts and blankets, for about six hours every night—after the libraries and health club are closed.

David finds this all very liberating, saying that he spends more quality time hanging out reading and eating at Barnes & Noble and Whole Foods Market than he would have in his apartment (where he would waste watching TV and doing housecleaning). In fact, he thinks he has got this homelessness thing down so well that he is ready to be a “homelessness consultant.” He explains: “There are so many people that are getting foreclosed on and have nowhere to go. The fact of the matter is, I would say that maybe 100 dollars a month invest in gym and lockers and equipment, it can be done…Just because you sleep outside for six hours a night doesn’t mean that for the rest of the day you can’t be shaved showered, in clothes, acting normal and doing normal things.”

Just to be clear, David is into homelessness, but not into homeless people. When the reporter for the Observer asked if he has met other homeless people, he answered, “Absolutely not, that’s my first rule. I stay as far away as possible from other homeless people and maybe it sounds terrible but one of the rationales behind it – people think I’m doing it to get to know the homeless and get to know there culture. And that’s not true. Maybe I’m getting to know their experience, but by introducing myself and trying to meet them would just be asking for bad things to happen.”

After all, David has another first world problem to take into consideration—his loving, presumably upper-middle class Jewish mother. “I love my mom and I feel like I’m taking years off her life because she always calls me and tells me that she can’t sleep at night and she’s always worrying,” David said. The Shmooze has a feeling that his mother won’t have to worry for too long. We’re betting on David’s being well past his homeless phase by the time post-law school job application season rolls around.


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