Vince Bui's new home is a shadow of the plush two-story, three-bedroom condo, graced with coastal paintings, that he shared in Mission Viejo with his wife and two sons.
It is a room.
There are no windows. Instead of paintings, the walls are adorned by a child’s crayon scrawl. The space is about the size of two master closets — just large enough to fit an Ikea bed, a chair, a desk and makeshift storage for a gas burner and food.
His laptop sits next to packets of noodles, a jug of lemonade and bananas.
Bui pays $500 a month for the space. Two elderly Vietnamese men, one a retired shop owner, the other a former carpenter, each rent other rooms. The landlords, a...