It’s little things—like sharing a meal or…fixing a toilet—says Fransisco Millan, that can signal to chosen family that they are loved. Now, he and two friends from college—Daisy Figueroa and Joseph Rios—are just that: chosen family. They attended UC Berkeley and now run the growing business that sprang from a viral video that uncovered a need they didn’t know was there.
In the video, Figueroa explains that, for 20 years, her parents didn’t have their own space, and lived in a modest home with their two children with whom they shared a room. When the kids left, Daisy renovated the space—packed with three beds, including a bunk—for her parents, finally turning it into a place all their own. She put the reveal on social media. Many people who saw her parents weep with joy at the sight of their new room could relate. They too were the children of immigrants who had sacrificed everything—including, in some cases, a room of their own—to provide for their families.
The massive response to the video sparked the idea for Hood Renovationz, formed with Rios and Millan, which seeks to make life a little better, a little easier, for people like them in and surrounding their Huntington Park neighborhood, a 97% Latino enclave of Los Angeles. Simply put, they make home improvements for friends and neighbors who can’t afford it. These upgrades to those living spaces, whether small or large, are demonstrable acts of care, and they often become close to the people they serve. They become chosen family too.