|Location||2301 Bellevue Avenue
Los Angeles, California
|Denomination||Assemblies of God
|Former name(s)||L.A. International Church|
|Senior pastor(s)||Matthew Barnett|
The Dream Center is a Pentecostal Christian Church mission located at 2301 Bellevue Avenue in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, two blocks west of Alvarado Street on the north side of the 101 Freeway. It is two miles from Downtown Los Angeles and a little over two miles from Hollywood.
Based out of the former Queen of Angels Hospital at Bellevue and Waterloo Street, the facility consists of almost 400,000 ft² (37,000 m²) in buildings on 8.8 acres (36,000 m²) of prime commercial real estate.
The church ministers to gang members, drug addicts, unwed mothers and children without parents, motorcycle groups, taggers, AIDS victims, and various subculture, ethnic and nationality groups. It feeds the homeless and others in need and runs a halfway house for released prisoners. Close to 500 people are housed at the center and receive rehabilitation. Many other services are offered each week to meet the spiritual and physical needs of the community. The center has been said to epitomize a quote by Tommy Barnett, pastor of the Phoenix First Assembly of God Church, "Find a need and fill it, find a hurt and heal it."
The church was founded in 1993 as the "L.A. International Church" by Matthew Barnett, with the help of his father, Tommy Barnett, as a home missions project of the Southern California District of the Assemblies of God.
When the church began in September 1994, there were 39 members. The congregation grew from an average attendance of 48 on Sunday morning to reaching more than 35,000 people each week in the Center's 40 services and 273 ministries and outreaches.
In the first four years of the Dream Center's establishment, prostitution and gang violence dropped 73%, the homicide rate dropped 28% and rape dropped 53%. This may have also been due, in part, to rampant gentrification in the area during the time period, but the Mayor of Los Angeles and the City Council publicly acknowledged the dramatic impact of the Dream Center and praised its efforts. In 2000, George W. Bush, then Governor of Texas, visited the Dream Center and deemed it "a model for faith-based organizations."
In 2001, Pastor Matthew Barnett and the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel united the Dream Center with the famous Angelus Temple. Through a process of two Christian denominations working together, the unification was possible, and as of November 1, 2001, Pastor Barnett became the senior pastor over Angelus Temple as well as the Dream Center.
Associated Dream Centers have been established in other cities. Over 100 Dream Centers have been launched around the world.
The Dream Center has a number of resources for both the community and people living in different states or countries. For the Homeless they have a Transitional Family Housing Program, Skid Row Outreach and a Food Chapel. For Human Trafficking victims they have the Human Trafficking Program, the emergency shelter and the emergency hotline. For community outreach they have The Dream Center Academy, The Lord's Gym, Adopt-a-Block, the Youth Center, and the Worship Project. For hunger in general they provide a Food Truck and a Food Bank to the public. For poverty issues they have the Emancipating Youth Home program, Foster Care Intervention, Clothing Outreach, Mobile Medical Clinic, Adult Education Program, and the Job Placement and Transition Program. For recovery they have the Men's and Women's Discipleship live in program.
According to BBC News, some Hurricane Katrina evacuees who stayed at the Dream Center felt like prisoners. "Ricky Valentine said he was desperate to leave the Dream Center: "We can't get none of the cash benefits because we're staying here. We need them so we can try to move on and get back into society." "We're not used to feeling like we've got to be in prison. We're evacuees, not prisoners," he added angrily."
In response to the complaints, several social activists, led by Ted Hayes, a homelessness advocate, called a news conference demanding an investigation of the Dream Center. After visiting the Dream Center, however, and being given a tour of the facility, the activists concluded that the accusations were groundless. ""There is no basis to the complaints we've heard," Hayes said,"The horror stories reported to us do not exist."" 
- http://www.dreamcenter.org/about-us/ retrieved December 14, 2013
- Wells, Matthew (September 18, 2005). "Katrina challenge for LA mission". BBC News. Retrieved 20 September 2012.
- Sahagun, Louis (September 17, 2005). "No Nightmare Seen at the Dream Center". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
- Dream Center at its Official Website
- Dream Center at Google Maps
- Dream Center at Yelp Map
- Dream Center at its Official Website