There was a hotel in Greenwich Village (NY) where you could rent a room (very small) for a few bucks a night! It was great. You could work waiting tables, or driving taxis, or whatever, and actually live in the heart of NYC. I probably would not have wanted my sister to live there, there were a few winos, but no drugs, not at that time. It was a great experience.
Places like this are gone now, unfortunately.
Here is my tribute to old New York, The Hotel Greenwich Village!