Mario Canel met his wife inside the apartment where he’s lived for the last 33 years.
Canel, a house painter, was at the Silver Lake complex off of Sunset Boulevard on a job, but he and his customer quickly connected over their shared Guatemalan roots. It wasn’t long before Mario and Sabina married, and her home became his. For years, they basked in such comforts as plucking chayote from a vine outside their front window.
When his wife died in April 2005, Canel was consoled with walks throughout the neighborhood and his connection to people inside the eight-unit bungalow court. It also helped that even as the surrounding neighborhood gentrified, rent control held his rent below $400.
But three months ago, a real estate investor purchased the complex and soon told all tenants to leave. Suddenly, Canel faced the prospect of having to find a new home in a market where nearby studios rent for more than his monthly Social Security benefits — his sole means of support.View Article