Homeboy Industries, the Los Angeles institution whose mission for more than 20 years has been to turn jobs into a recipe for saving the lives of gang members, laid off most of its employees Thursday because of crushing financial problems.
Father Gregory Boyle, who started Homeboy Industries in Boyle Heights during the height of the city's gang wars, said 300 people were laid off, including all senior staff and administrators. Boyle said he has stopped taking a paycheck.
The only employees not laid off were more than 100 who work in the organization's businesses, including its store, bakery and Homegirl Cafe. Boyle said that for the moment, the social services and tattoo removal offered would continue, only because employees said they would keep coming.
The organization faces a $5 million budget deficit due to an increase in demand for its services combined with the economic slump and a reduction in donations. If you want to help put Homeboy Industries back on its feet, you can:
1. Buy Fr. Greg Boyle's book, the proceeds of which go to Homeboy Industries. It is available in English as Tattoos on the Heart and in Spanish as Tatuajes en el corazón.
2. Order a copy of Homeboy Review literary magazine.
3. Make a donation online at https://www.homeboy-industries.org/donate-online.php or by sending a check to:
130 W. Bruno St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012