A 73-year-old immigrant is afraid to end up on the street and die like many older adults who are taken from their homes with controlled income

Mario Canel, a Hispanic septuagenarian, has the days counted to stay in the street since the owners of the house he has occupied for more than 30 years, have given him until June 2020 to vacate.

"My biggest fear is become me in a helpless plus why I no may l pay what is charged for a rent in the present in the Angels", says this 73-year-old immigrant from Guatemala.

Mario is a widower and has no children. He lives since 1986 in a small and modest one-bedroom apartment, in the Echo Park neighborhood in the city of Los Angeles, for which he pays rent 380 dollars a month.

All his productive life he worked as a house painter. He survives of the 930 dollars that Social Security gives him for his retirement.

The nightmare for Mario began in June of this year when the owners of the apartment where he lives, asked him to evict him and the rest of the neighbors who live in the same property.

Mario Canel does not know what will be of his life when he delivers the house with controlled income in which he has lived for more than three decades. (Aurelia Ventura / The Opinion)

“They gave us this month to leave. But we had the option of an extension until June which is when I have to go, ”explains Mario.

And he adds that, for vacating the apartments, the owners of the property have offered them compensation of $ 20,000. But the offer, although tempting, has many disadvantages for this older adult.

“I am between a rock and a hard place. If I receive that money, Social Security automatically cuts my monthly pension, ”he says.

Those $ 20,000 would go like water in his hands. “A lady who received that money. He died in the street shortly after, ”he recalls.

Mario joined the Los Angeles Tenant Union in search of an alternative against his eviction, and fought against the phenomenon of gentrification which is taking place in neighborhoods like Echo Park, where Latinos and other minorities predominate.

“These neighborhoods have changed in such a way that only people of money come to live here. When I moved in the 80s, it was very dangerous. There were gangs. Shots were heard at night. Since that is over, they don't want us here anymore, but one is set in this neighborhood. Where are we going to live? ”, He asks in distress.

Mario Canel asks rulers and leaders to do something to keep them from evicting families living in housing with controlled incomes. (Aurelia Ventura / The Opinion)

He says that they have tried to help him and have sought subsidized public housing through the section 8 program, but the waiting lists imply a wait of years.

“We would like the mayor of Los Angeles, the attorney and the governor of California to give a subsidy to the owners of the apartment buildings to keep the elderly here; also that they also build housing according to our income, ”he asks.

The concrete request is for the attorney Xavier Becerra to present an order that stops the evictions under the Ellis law and takes away the power of the developers to focus on the communities with frozen income until a study is done to learn about how the communities They face the burden of evictions.

Mario reveals that they want to go to Sacramento to protest so that Governor Gavin Newsom will listen to them.

In the meantime, he admits feeling very depressed no matter how much he encourages life.

"That famous Ellis Act us is bordering to the suicide or to the death. He spirit be saddens Y one be may To die in any moment", He says.

Mario Canel shows the mold that has come out on the roof and walls of his house. (Aurelia Ventura / The Opinion)

According to the Los Angeles Tenant Union, tenants of six buildings with controlled income are being evicted through the Ellis Act which contributes to the vicious cycle of evictions and increased homelessness.

"In the last years, thanks to the law Ellis se have evicted around of 30,000 families from living place with rent controlled”, Says Trinidad Ruiz of the Los Angeles Tenant Union.

“What we are seeing is that this state law has given investors the ability to evict Latinos and African Americans. And what has happened is that many older adults are left without a roof and go to the street to live where they find death due to the vulnerability of their age, ”he says.

Trinidad revealed that this month they are going to talk with Assemblyman Wendy Carrillo to do something to stop the evictions and amend the Ellis law in favor of the tenants of working families.

“We are also asking Councilor Mitch O'Farrell to withdraw a proposal to make it illegal for homeless people to sleep 500 feet from the parks. It is an attack on the poor that in no way helps to stop homelessness, ”he says.

Mario Canel says that his neighborhood in Echo Park has changed a lot, and the rental price has increased so much that working families can no longer afford it (Aurelia Ventura / La Opinion)

In 1985, the state legislature passed the Ellis law after the California Supreme Court determined that homeowners do not have the right to evict tenants who do not plan to leave their apartment.

According to the Anti-Eviction Maps Project, the Ellis law has been corrupted by large developers whose sole purpose is to acquire housing with controlled income, destroy it, evict tenants and replace these apartments with luxury housing at high cost.

They point out that several studies have shown that evictions under the Ellis law have been made by developers who have less than a year of buying the properties.

Therefore, it indicates that it has resulted in the loss of thousands of housing units with controlled income, the gentrification of neighborhoods and tenant displacement throughout California.


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