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Homeboy Industries lays off most employees as financial woes worsen


Homeboy Industries, the venerable L.A. institution designed to provide jobs and counseling to former gang members, laid off most of its employees Thursday amid worsening financial problems.

Father Gregory Boyle, who started Homeboy Industries more than two decades ago, said 300 people were laid off, including all senior administrators. Boyle said he has stopped taking a paycheck as well.

"We cobbled together payroll since November," he said. "But it was not enough to save us or rescue us."

Officials said about 100 people will continue to work at Homeboy, including at the organization's cafe near Chinatown, which will remain open. Homeboy will continue to offer tattoo removal and counseling services.

The Times reported last year that Homeboy had an annual budget of $9.8 million. Its businesses -- including a bakery and cafe staffed in part by ex-gang members -- made about $2.5 million a year. The group needed donations and other sources of income to make up the difference.

Homeboy has also employed its clients in silk-screening, landscaping, solar power and other industries.

-- Hector Becerra

Photo: L.A. Times file

Comments () | Archives (29)

Los Angeles pensions are killing LA. Decent programs don't stand a chance against paying peoples full salaries that retired many years ago.

Well, maybe it's time for PARENTS to start taking control of their OWN kids and take some RESPONSIBILITY for what they have spawned!

It's one thing to DO the wild thing! It's another to RAISE the wild thing!

Homeboy Industries is a joke. How can you have 9 million budget but only bring in 2.5 million??? These career losers should of just stayed in jail instead of asking for handouts!!!

This is the kind of progam that actually helps rescue countless lives and the futures of low income and disadvantaged neighborhoods. So of course it is destined to fail due to lack of revenue and the general disinterest of 'the powers that be'. Instead of funnelling mega millions down the coffers of ad agencies and tv stations, these politicians running for state and federal offices would make a much more resounding impact if they picked a project,funded and supported it. Why don't some of the local businesses and "do-gooder" foundations direct assistance to these grass-roots and impressive operations that actually DO work to improve the lives and conditions of the areas in need? Our next generation will be depleted of so many young men who may have been active and positive contributors to society. We've lost thousands of fathers, (or potential fathers)role models, and members of any number of worthwhile endeavors. If only some adequate early education and the removal of the stigma and sterotype our youths labor underneath were lifted and a fair start given. We've got to stop turning our heads and dismissing entire communities as "worthless and deplorable". If only we considered the loss of 18,000 lives or more as big a loss as the victims of floods, fires and earthquakes receive, with subsequent monetary and volunteers dispatched.

This is a sad day for Los Angeles. Homeboy has helped thousands turn their lives around and become productive citizens. I pray with all my heart that people step up and help Father Greg and his mission.

Not even a well intended enterprise can survive the ravages a the most socialist state in the Union. God save America from this fate.

Hook up with a clothing firm and license the name.

Hook up with a fast food chain and license the name for a value menu.

Hook up with a sports promoter and license the name for a nation wide tourney like American Idol.

Hook up with a toy manufacturer and license the name for a toy line.

Sell the movie rights.

License the name for urban music to Sony.

License the name to concert promoter.

License the name to an auto manufacturer for electric cars.

License it to Ben and Jerry for a new flavor.

License it to shoe company for new line of shoes.

Skateboards? National Guard, urban squad?

The name is the brand and the brand is the thing. Compton and South Central have no concept how well known they are in Europe and Asia. I mean BIG. Capitalize on this. Take it to the next level. It works, but must grow to go.

Think big

back to gang life.. ese's

This is absolutely terrible. Whenever some tells you about God's work being done, it is Father Greg they are really referring to. Homeboy Industries is more than jobs; they bring hope to those who most amongst us refuse to acknowledge.

Hopefully they don't go back to gangbanging now.

Move the operation to Arizona. First step in renewal of Los Angeles.

So, they were running at a $7.3 million loss every year, expecting donations to make up the rest. That's not a good long-term business plan. At some point, they needed to at least come close to breaking even.

So a budget of $9.8 Million keeps 400 people employed but generates only $2.5 Million in income? What exactly were all those people doing, if they weren't somehow generating income? Hanging out, chatting, browsing the web, ...? Maybe they need to re-think their model of doing business, and teach the homies how to run an enterprise that generates real income.

oh no, poor ex gang bangers. What terrible news

What's Obama's unemployment rate among "homeboys?"

Dear Father: You are doing the true calling of Jesus of Nazareth. Thank you and if more like you were in the Catholic Church, I may have stuck around.

Why don't you ask that sinful person, your top boss, to sell one of the paintings in the Vatican (seriously, what would Jesus do?) to support your work.? Now, that would be proper. : )
Yours in the true spirit of Jesus of Nazareth

Something doesn't add up in this story. If Homeboy was losing $7 million a year, where was the $7 million coming from? And why did it stop coming?

Did this outfit really employ 400 people last year? That's a lot of guys making t-shirts.

My God ya'll. God bless gang members who have the courage to leave that dead-end life, and are WORKING to realize a more productive existence. I know places outside our country like Haiti experiencing natural disasters need our help, but if we don't take care of our own back yard, just what do you think the end result will be???
This is distressing, and I am hoping that some celeb or business person can help resurrect these jobs.

Good luck to all involved and I hope the efforts to keep kids out of gangs can be continued with private funding.

this is devastating. Where is Eli Broad, McGuire, any body with money who cares about this city. They need to step up.

This is a shame. Homeboy provides a vital resource for the community and is a life line for individuals looking for a way out. I urge others to donate money to keep this organization and the hope they give others alive. As an attorney, I have seen the difference Homeboy makes in the lives of many people. Their tattoo removal is an amazing service to the community. I sincerely hope Homeboy survives this financial crisis.

I went there for lunch the other day at 1 PM and they were already closed! The lunch hour should go to at least 2 PM.
Maybe you would be more successful.

Ooh Solar Power jobs! That will get Homeboy on top again.

It's a very sad day when Homeboy Industries, the nation's largest anti-gang program has no money to continue doing their much needed work ... while on the other hand we have big banks, corporations and wall street financial institutions continue their work and screwing people over and over again ... while making ridiculous profits ... where's the justice here? ... things have got to change ...

Typical Los Angeles, we can find $25 million for MOCA junk yet, an institution that makes a difference to keep LA safe and control gang growth, can not get $10 million to keep its doors. With the highest concentration of wealth for a county, this is disgusting and sets a great example of "I don't care, I got mine." Think that county supervisors receive $5 million each to throw around as they see fit, can not give $1 million each and ask their super rich friends to put together another $5 from their pocket change. Add the Cardinal for a little from the cathedral slush fund. Many politicians and super rich talk about changing LA for the better is no more than Two Face character from Batman. The worst, this is the reality of a real tragedy.

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