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Homeboy Industries lays off most employees as financial woes worsen

May 13, 2010 |  5:36 pm


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