Homeboy Industries

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Homeboy Industries
Laura Bush talks with members during a discussion at Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles.

Homeboy Industries is a youth program founded in 1992[1] by Father Greg Boyle, S.J. following the work of the Christian base communities at Dolores Mission Church. The program is intended to assist high-risk youth, former gang members and the recently incarcerated with a variety of free programs, such as mental health counseling, legal services, tattoo removal, curriculum and education classes, work-readiness training, and employment services. The most distinctive feature of Homeboy Industries[2] is its social enterprises and small businesses, which give hard-to-place individuals an opportunity for employment in transitional jobs in a safe, supportive environment where they can learn both concrete and soft job skills. Among the businesses[3] are the Homeboy Bakery, Homegirl Café [4] & Catering, Homeboy/Girl Merchandise, Homeboy Farmers Markets, The Homeboy Diner at City Hall,[5] Homeboy Silkscreen & Embroidery, Homeboy Grocery and Homeboy Cafe & Bakery in the American Airlines terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.[6]


Homeboy Industries began in 1988 as a job training program (called Jobs for a Future) [1] out of Dolores Mission Parish in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, California, USA. It was created by then-pastor Greg Boyle, S.J. to offer an alternative to gang life for high-risk youth, who were living in a city (Los Angeles) with the highest concentration of gang activity in the country.[7] In those early days, Boyle found sympathetic businesses that agreed to hire recovering gang members.

In 1992, an abandoned warehouse was converted into the first business, Homeboy Bakery, to create more opportunities for employment. The Bakery started off producing tortillas and eventually received a contract for baking bread.[8] Eventually more businesses were added, and in 2001, Homeboy Industries became an independent non-profit.

Dolores Mission Alternative School[9] was created to offer high school drop outs a chance for a diploma. In 2010, Learning Works became the new high school. There are currently 75 students enrolled, and in 2012 enrollment is expected to reach 105.

In October 2007, Homeboy Industries opened a new $8.5 million headquarters at the Fran and Ray Stark building, in a gang-neutral downtown location.[3]

In addition to jobs, Homeboy Industries offers training in anger management, domestic violence, yoga, spiritual development, parenting, substance abuse, budgeting, art and other areas of self-development.[3] In addition, they offer free mental health counseling, tattoo removal, legal services, job development and case management.

One of Homeboy's most successful programs is free tattoo[3] removal. Young people who find that tattoos inhibit their ability to secure employment can receive treatments on site at Homeboy's center in Downtown Los Angeles, California, USA. Though tattoo removal by laser is known to be painful and takes an average of eight to ten treatments per tattoo, and in some cases up to 1 year to complete, patient retention is virtually 100%. The clinic completes about 560 treatments per month.

Homeboy Industries faced financial difficulties in 2010,[10] but the organization has reached a strong point in 2011 and is seeing more clients than ever before. New developments in 2010 and 2011 included the launch of Homeboy Tortilla Strips and Salsa in Ralphs stores across California,[11] and the expansion of the Homeboy social enterprises with the Homeboy Diner at City Hall and Homeboy Farmers Markets. The title of Fr. Boyle's memoir, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion[12] reflects Father Boyle's unwavering focus in helping gang members walk a new path.

Homeboy currently employs between 200–235 high-risk, formerly gang-involved, and recently incarcerated youth in its six social enterprises and headquarters, though the free services (from tattoo removal to Baby and Me class) are utilized by more than 10,000 community members a year.

Recognition and awards[edit]

A documentary titled Father G. and the Homeboys was released in 2007.[13]

Homeboy Industries made its first foray into the mainstream market with its salsa being sold at Ralphs Supermarket.[14]

In 2007, Father Boyle appeared in an episode of MTV's True Life, which followed an employee of Homeboy Industries named Dennis.[15]

Father Boyle and Homeboy Industries were awarded in the humanitarian category by of the 10th Annual Bon Appétit Awards in September 2007.[16]

Members of Homeboy Industries were also shown in the music video for Daughtry's "What About Now" in July 2008.[17]

Father Boyle was inducted into the California Hall of Fame in December 2011.[18]


Boyle[19] and Homeboy Industries has received criticism, especially from law enforcement in Los Angeles. Accusations of glorifying gang life and harboring criminals have been made in the past. However, many law enforcement and government officials, including Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca,[20] LAPD Chief Charlie Beck,[21] Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa,[22] and former First Lady Laura Bush[23] have praised Homeboy Industries' success.


  1. ^ a b Siegel, Larry J; Welch, Brandon C (2008). Juvenile Delinquency: Theory, Practice, and Law. Wadsworth Publishing. pp. 4–8. ISBN 978-0-495-50364-4. 
  2. ^ "Homeboy Industries". USC Campus Movie Fest. Retrieved 15 May 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d Kurato, Donald F (2008). Entrepreneurship: Theory, Process, and Practice. South-Western College Pub. ISBN 978-0-324-59091-3. 
  4. ^ "Tavis Smiley Home Girl Cafe". PBS. Retrieved 15 May 2010. 
  5. ^ "Homeboy Industries expands with diner at City Hall". LA Times. Retrieved 16 September 2011. 
  6. ^ "LAX Newsletter February 2013" (PDF). LAWA. Retrieved 6 January 2016. 
  7. ^ Fr. Gregory, Boyle (8 August 2009). "Homeboy Industries: Producing Hope". Huffington Post. 
  8. ^ James, Flanigan (20 March 2008). "Small Businesses Offer Alternatives to Gang Life". New York Times. New York Times
  9. ^ Rausch, Thomas P (2004). Evangelizing America. Paulist Press. p. 83. ISBN 978-0-8091-4240-8. 
  10. ^ Becerra, Hector (13 May 2010). "Homeboy Industries Lays Off Most Employees". Los Angeles Times. 
  11. ^ "Homeboy Industries pins hopes on chips and salsa". Los Angeles Times. 17 February 2011. 
  12. ^ Boyle, Gregory (2010). Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion. Free Press. ISBN 978-1-4391-5302-4. 
  13. ^ "Father G. and the Homeboys". LA's The Place. Retrieved 14 May 2010.  LA's The Place
  14. ^ "Homeboy, Ralphs Team Up To Sell Signature Salsa". CBS Broadcasting Inc. 9 October 2009. 
  15. ^ "True Life I Live In The Projects". MTV. Retrieved 27 November 2010. 
  16. ^ "Father Gregory Boyle and Homeboy Industries receive The Bon Appétit Award". Jesuits of the California Province. 9 Sep 2007. Jesuits of the California Province
  17. ^ "What About Now". Daughtry. Retrieved 14 May 2010. 
  18. ^ "Father Gregory Boyle". California Museum. 9 Sep 2011. 
  19. ^ "Homeboy Sermon". Santa Barbara Independent, Inc. Retrieved 28 November 2007.  Santa Barbara Independent, Inc
  20. ^ "Fr. Greg Nominated for Award by Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca for Taking Positive Role Toward Changing the Gang Culture in Los Angeles". Retrieved 19 September 2011. 
  21. ^ "Meet the Chief". City of Los Angeles. Retrieved 19 September 2011. 
  22. ^ "LA Mayor Villaraigosa Promotes Homeboy Industries Mobile Giving Campaign". Youtube. Retrieved 19 September 2011. 
  23. ^ "George's gang policy shows the Administration's true colors". The Progressive. Retrieved 19 September 2011. 

External links[edit]

Additional reading[edit]

  • Boyle, Gregory (2010). Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion. Free Press. ISBN 978-1-4391-5302-4. 
  • Fremon, Celeste; Brokaw, Tom (2004). G-Dog and the Homeboys: Father Greg Boyle and the Gangs of East Los Angeles. University of New Mexico Press. ISBN 978-0-8263-3536-4. 
  • Wirth, Eileen (2007). They Made All the Difference: Life-changing Stories from Jesuit High Schools. Loyola Press. ISBN 978-0-8294-2168-2. 
  • Siegel, Larry J; Welch, Brandon C (2008). Juvenile Delinquency: Theory, Practice, and Law. Wadsworth Publishing. ISBN 978-0-495-50364-4. 
  • Kurato, Donald F (2008). Entrepreneurship: Theory, Process, and Practice. South-Western College Pub. ISBN 978-0-324-59091-3. 
  • Rodriguez, Luis (2003). Hearts and Hands: Creating Community in Violent Times. Seven Stories Press. ISBN 978-1-58322-564-6. 
  • Geeseman, Peggy L; Hall, Linda D (2008). Brands and Their Companies: Consumer Products and Their Manufacturers With Addresses and Phone Numbers. Gale Cengage. ISBN 978-0-7876-9990-1. 
  • Leitner, Helga; Peck, Jamie; Sheppard, Eric (2006). Contesting Neoliberalism: Urban Frontiers. The Guilford Press. ISBN 978-1-59385-320-4. 
  • Leap, Jorja (2012). Jumped In: What Gangs Taught Me About Violence, Love, Drugs, and Redemption. Beacon Press. ISBN 978-0-8070-4456-8.