On Saturday, the singer was honored at Ending Youth Homelessness, a benefit for Los Angeles-based nonprofit and homeless youth center My Friend’s Place. At the event Halsey opened up about her time being homeless and how the devastating situation made her contemplate prostitution.
“When I was living in New York, I was a teenager,” she recalled. “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.”
This isn’t the first time Halsey has talked about her life before winning awards and topping the charts. In 2016, the singer told Rolling Stone she was kicked out of her parent’s house at 19 for quitting community college. From there she couch-surfed. She had no phone or health insurance, and her diet mostly consisted of $1 pizza and Red Bull.
Halsey doesn’t think of her parents as villains, though. In her speech she made clear that they loved her “very much,” and that her homelessness was caused by a “series of unfortunate circumstances” and “can happen to absolutely anyone.”
“[The homeless] epidemic is deadly,” she said. “It’s more than young people needing validation and needing people to listen to them — this is life or death.”
The musician also knows that her rise to fame is something like a Cinderella story, though she doesn’t want that to be the reason people give back — meaning we shouldn’t help because there’s a chance homeless individuals may one day be a celebrity.
“We shouldn’t help because they could really make something of themselves because they are something right now!” Halsey declared.