For Cash-Strapped Renters, Parties Spell Relief

Renters strapped for cash throw parties to help make ends meet.

ByABC News via logo
May 12, 2009, 8:40 AM

May 12, 2009 — -- House parties can offer a good time on a Saturday night, but in the current economic climate, they might provide a whole lot more for desperate renters.

Some renters, strapped for cash, have been forced to get creative by throwing rent parties to make ends meet.

Rob Alicea in Astoria, N.Y., threw a rent party recently, asking friends to each donate $10 for a night of partying, complete with beverages and snacks.

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Alicea, an aspiring actor who also tends bar to make a living, recently found his wages cut in half.

"When people move into apartments," Alicea said, "they throw house warming parties and people donate things. So I said to myself, 'Why can't I just throw a party and have people just donate money to a cause?' The cause being me."

Alicea said he could pull in around $400 for a "very successful evening."

"I know it's kind of tough living in NYC. Making rent is tough," attendee Jake Sczna said. "But everybody is coming here, having a good time. Throwing in $10 to help him make rent is not a bad idea, so I'm all about it."

Daniel Marks, who has also turned to rent parties, said, "I charged $12 a head at the door for all you can drink -- however, quite a few people gave quite a bit more."

Rent parties, a creative solution for recession pains, are not so unusual after all. The tradition dates back to the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s, when residents would entertain in their own homes to raise money for rent.

Fliers would be dropped in mailboxes to promote the gatherings like one that read "If Sweet Mamma is running wild and you are looking for a Do-right child, just come around and linger awhile at a 'Social Whist Party.'"

"I think it's great idea," one partygoer, Kristi Parda, said. "And if you need the money, why not?"