History

Homeboy Industries began when a concerned group of Angelenos, led by Father Gregory Boyle, asked a simple question: “Can we improve the health and safety of our community through jobs and education rather than through suppression and incarceration?” The answer was yes. In 1988, members of the Dolores Mission Church and Father Greg found a few caring business owners willing to hire former gang members and “Jobs For A Future” was created. Seeking a way out of gang life, 70 young people started work.


In 1992, Hollywood producer Ray Stark donated enough money to turn an abandoned warehouse into a bakery and the first social enterprise, Homeboy Bakery, was born. Two months later, Homeboy Tortilleria opened in Downtown Los Angeles. Hands that once pointed guns now pressed and shaped dough every morning.

But there were growing pains. In 1994, the ceiling leaked, the oven broke, and the bakery closed. Father Greg found new partners; a worker from the Southern California Gas Company repaired the oven free of charge and USC Medical Center stepped up and said they would buy whatever the bakery could turn out. The business of job training and re-entry grew. Total disaster struck in 1999 when the bakery burned down, but despite these obstacles, Homeboy continued to grow and expand. More social enterprise businesses and new, free social programs were added and by 2001, Homeboy Industries was an independent non-profit. In 2007, Homeboy moved into its current Los Angeles headquarters. 

Thousands of young people have since walked through the doors of Homeboy Industries looking for a second chance, and finding community, sanctuary, and family. Gang affiliations are 
left outside as people work together, side by side, learning the mutual respect that comes from shared tasks and challenges.

This year, we celebrate our 28th anniversary as an organization in our headquarters located in downtown Los Angeles, just two blocks from Union Station. Homeboy serves as a beacon of hope and opportunity 
for those seeking to leave gang life, for whom the barriers and challenges are great, and for whom there is virtually no other avenue to enter the mainstream.

Homeboy Industries is recognized as the largest and most successful gang intervention and re-entry program in the world, and has become a national model.