HGTV’s ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’ Insider Features Skid Row Police Officer and Much Needed Quarantine Cheer

Written by: Meagan Lynn – April 7th, 2020 2:24am pst


“I could feel the love in every single wall of this house.”

Photo Credit: HGTV

Deon Joseph grew up with four siblings. To some, that might seem like a big family. But the Joseph family had room in their hearts for more children, and would come to welcome in over 40 foster kids over the years. Welcome to another edition of AfterBuzz TV’s special series ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Insider’ with Meagan Lynn. 

“Our parents were all about helping the homeless and raising foster children,” Deon said. “I saw that kind of love seeing my parents feed the homeless for 10 years. Seeing my dad employ ex-convicts and giving them a second chance; a second chance they couldn’t get because of their criminal record or because of their race.”

Now leading by his parents’ example, giving people a second chance is a part of Deon’s job title. He’s been serving as a Los Angeles police officer for the past 25 years, working on Skid Row to house the homeless and connect them with resources to get them back on their feet. Just like when Deon was growing up, service is a family affair, with his wife and three kids joining him to serve meals and package hygiene kits for the homeless. 

“When you allow young people to be the inspiration and to be part of a movement, it carries on. So it will not die here with us. It will carry on. My kids will carry it forward,” said Santosha, Deon’s wife. “You don’t have to even have a lot. You just have to have a heart, a will and a desire to help others and to be kind.”

Photo Credit: HGTV

Deon has housed over 150 formerly homeless individuals in the past ten years alone, but serving others doesn’t stop when he gets home at the end of the day. He and his wife have done everything from cook meals for friends & family to gifting them cars, even taking in loved ones who need a place to stay. 

“The home has been almost like a triage center at times,” Santosha explained. “When you have all of that, it can be very heavy. It was like we were on a hamster wheel and we did what we knew we needed to do–what was most important to us–and that was loving anyone that came through the door.” 

The Joseph family home that had served as a base for their community outreach over the years was getting neglected amidst the family’s busy schedules. Their house was built in 1941, and the old plumbing was deteriorating and causing mildew and mold. 

The Joseph’s old house. – Photo Credit: HGTV

“I always felt blessed to be in the home that I was in prior to this, but there were a lot of things that were starting to fall apart,” Deon explained. “It was very dark and there was no real place for me to go and decompress.”

After 18 years in their house, it was time for an upgrade. A producer from HGTV was looking for local heroes in the Los Angeles area, and Deon was at the top of the list. Last fall, the cast of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition showed up outside the Joseph’s door to surprise them with the news that they would be completely renovating their house. Just a week later, they came home to an unrecognizable house. 

The Joseph’s new house. – Photo Credit: HGTV

“They moved the bus and I had to pause for a second because I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was,” Deon recalled. “They based the house on our relationship and how we met and how we came to fall in love with each other, and it all fit. It reminds us every day of who we are and what we’re about and that’s love.”

The Extreme Makeover team gave Deon and Santosha plenty of spaces to relax: a master bedroom oasis, a living room complete with a family entertainment system, and a garage hang out space. They even provided them with extra hygiene kits to give away to those in need.

Photo Credit: HGTV

“You see all these horrible things that are happening in the world and sometimes it looks like people are no longer nice or kind anymore. But I can tell you that they really reinforced our faith in society and humanity,” Santosha said. “This is much bigger than a television show, bigger than entertainment. These people are spending their days every day trying to figure out how to make someone’s life or change a life, the lives of a family, and they really are just incredible souls.”

Some of the Joseph’s favorite memories since moving in include family movie nights and celebrating the holidays. Deon says the house has been the fresh start they needed.

Photo Credit: HGTV

“In the previous house, not only did we help a lot of people, but we lost a lot of people. So the holidays were kind of a downer for us,” Deon said. “The new house just created this new slate, this new life for us where the past is the past, our loved ones are in a better place. Let’s just celebrate life.”

What meant the most to Deon was that some of the people he’d helped find housing over the years showed up to help build his house.

Photo Credit: HGTV

“I could feel the love in every single wall of this house. I could feel the prayers of everyone who came through this house and did such an awesome job for us. We just don’t even have the words to describe it to this day,” he said.

The Joseph’s have lived in their newly renovated house since September, and continue to use it to invite more people in and help their community. If you want to listen to our full interview with the Joseph family, check out AfterBuzz TV’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Insider podcast. While this is the season finale of Extreme Makeover, the conversation doesn’t have to end here. Let us know your thoughts on the show @afterbuzztv on Instagram and Twitter, and stay tuned for an exclusive interview with one of the show’s designers on AfterBuzz’s website.

About The Author:

Meagan Lynn is a host at AfterBuzz TV and Elon University graduate with a degree in journalism. She loves singing, listening to inspirational podcasts and watching reality TV.

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