Charles Garfinkle lived at the Berkeley Student Cooperative, or BSC, for five years of his neuroscience doctoral program at UC Berkeley. When he decided to take a break from the program to be part of a startup company, he was no longer guaranteed room and board at the BSC. As a result, he opted for sleeping in a van and relying on friends to use their housing facilities instead of paying market-rate rent for an apartment.
Garfinkle is currently working and says he could easily get an apartment, but he decided to save money by paying $50 a month for car insurance instead of rent. Living in a van not only is a cheaper living alternative, but for Garfinkle, this is his way to avoid contributing to housing gentrification in the Bay Area.