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How Homeboy Industries found itself on the brink

May 18, 2010 |  1:41 pm

Homeboy Industries is struggling to survive.

The organization, which provides job training and counseling to gang members, laid off 300 employees, including all senior staff and administrators.

For all the accolades Homeboy Industries has garnered for its work taking gang members off the streets and training them for jobs, generating the revenue to pay for its services has proved increasingly difficult. The organization actually receives little funding these days from local government, which instead is focusing more on gang intervention programs that focus on reducing violence among current gang members, said Father Gregory Boyle, Homeboy's founder.

The recession has hurt Homeboy in several ways.

The private donations that typically help balance the budget are down. And there are fewer jobs for graduates of Homeboy's various programs. Boyle said L.A.'s dramatic drop in crime — and gang violence — may have in its own way contributed to Homeboy's financial problems. With less gang violence, he said, helping reformed gang members feels less urgent to some donors.

Times Staff Writer Hector Becerra analyzes Homeboy's woes in the video above. Read his coverage here, and Times columnist Tim Rutten's take here.