There must still be boarding houses, somewhere. People still have extra rooms, don’t they? Why not take in a few boarders? But it really doesn’t seem anywhere near as common as it used to be.
I stayed at a boarding house once, back in the early 70s, in Putney, Vermont: rented a room for a week. There were other young people renting there. Most of us had just been hired as reading instructors, and were in Putney for our training. This boarding house didn’t serve communal meals because it had a little family restaurant attached to it: but you could sing for your supper, which I did a few times. (Some people will listen to anything!) It had a nice TV room, complete with piano, where you could lounge with other boarders, maybe play a card game or two. Or watch the Red Sox game. It was nice.
You see boarding houses all the time in old movies. Much of the action in the sci-fi classic, The Day the Earth Stood Still, centered around a boarding house. And Our Boarding House, with Major Hoople (“Fap!”), was a staple in the Sunday funnies.
I don’t know–the boarding house I stayed at seemed a lot cozier and more personal than any motel, and a lot nicer than being all alone. I would be sorry to hear that the boarding house has passed into history with rotary phones and mimeograph machines.