Halsey Recounts Being Homeless and Once Debating Letting 'A Stranger Inside of Me' for Food Money

Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for My Friend's Place

Honoree Halsey speaks onstage at Ending Youth Homelessness: A Benefit for My Friend's Place at Hollywood Palladium on April 6, 2019 in Los Angeles. 

Halsey spoke of her experience being homeless as a teen at a benefit Saturday night (April 6), revealing that there was a time she had to consider letting a stranger have sex with her in exchange for money for food.  

The singer gave her speech at the annual Ending Youth Homelessness: A Benefit For My Friend’s Place in Hollywood, where she was an honoree.   

"The reality is that this epidemic is deadly," Halsey said of homelessness. "It's more than young people needing validation and needing people to listen to them. It's more than identity. It's more than hope. This is life or death."

"When I was living in New York, I was a teenager. My friends were picking out decorations for their dorms and I was debating on whether or not I should let a stranger inside of me so I could pay for my next meal. It wasn't because I did something bad, it wasn't because something was wrong with me, and it wasn't because my parents didn't love me, because they did very much. A series of unfortunate circumstances led me to being in that position, and it could happen to absolutely anyone," Halsey said.

Earlier in her candid speech, Halsey recounted a moment from when she signed a record deal and met with an employee at her label, duffle bag in hand: "He asked me, 'What's in the bag?' And I looked him dead in the eye and said, 'This is my house,'" she said.

My Friend’s Place, the organization behind Saturday night's event, helps homeless youth between the ages of 12 and 25 find a path to wellness, self-sufficiency and a permanent exit from homelessness.

“Connection, community, visibility and the space to craft one’s own identity is at the core of the work being done at My Friend’s Place," executive director Heather Carmichael said in a statement announcing the night's honorees. "It is there, standing by our side in partnership, that you will find our 2019 honorees, demonstrating their unwavering commitment to our young people. While reflecting on our 31-year history in Los Angeles, we feel fortunate to celebrate our amazing community, and remain resolute in our mission of developing and sustaining innovative programming with the goal of ending youth homelessness, one young person at a time.”

Hear Halsey address the audience in the clip below.


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