Homeboys goals are to break inter-generational cycles of violence, improve public safety, and transform lives. The organization is making a two-fold commitment to achieving these goals by (1) expanding membership of the Global Homeboy Network, a coalition of likeminded organizations that share best practices and advocate for social justice; and (2) scaling its existing social enterprises to provide healing services and job opportunities for an additional 150 ex-offenders and former gang members.
The Global Homeboy Network (GHN) is a coalition of over 75 organizations that serve marginalized populations. Homeboy Industries commits to expanding membership by 25 organizations and working collectively to advocate for social justice and economic opportunity. This will be accomplished by increasing outreach, providing stipends for conference attendees, and creating year-long advocacy plans. Homeboy's model works precisely because it was developed in, by, and for the community it serves. Rather than franchise, Homeboy has provided technical assistance to organizations that implement and adjust the model for their communities. In 2014, Homeboy held the first GHN Gathering, an "anti-conference" that included personal stories from former gang members. Over the next three years, Homeboy will host over 1,000 people between the conference and technical assistance visits.
The 18-month program, which currently employs around 180 trainees at any time, will take on an additional 150 individuals in positions that rotate between maintenance, administrative work, and shifts at Homeboys businesses. Leveraging infrastructure and partnerships, Homeboy will scale up its model of therapeutic services, job training, and social enterprises. Homegirl Café & Catering and Homeboy Bakery in particular have the capacity to expand, and growth in the business will fund the expansion of services.
By employing those with a criminal and/or gang history in its social enterprises (Café & Catering, Bakery & Foods, and Silkscreen & Embroidery), Homeboy offers a second chance to those who need it most and raises 42 percent of the organizations revenue. Social enterprise employees are graduates of Homeboys 18-month program, which provides case management, tattoo removal, legal assistance, education, mental health, and employment counseling that foster healing and remove barriers to employment.
Global Homeboy Network expansion:
First quarter 2017: With input from Homeboy executive team, GHN Manager and staff will begin planning 2017 GHN Gathering.
Deliverable: Contact made with at least 150 organizations serving marginalized populations locally, nationally, and internationally.
Second quarter 2017: Identify potential advocacy issues to discuss at conference.
Deliverables: Short list of advocacy issues and related resources/contacts. Program outline.
Third quarter 2017: Host 2017 GHN Gathering.
Deliverables: At least 100 organizations in attendance. Advocacy committee formed.
Fourth quarter 2017: Advocacy committee completes action plan.
Deliverable: At least 15 meetings with public officials and/or advocacy events.
Year-round: Provide technical assistance in the form of site visits, meetings with Homeboy leadership, and shared best practices.
First quarter 2018: Advocacy plan begins to implement action plan.
Note: GHN plans for 2018 and 2019 will follow a similar timeline but are somewhat contingent on the outcome of 2017 activities.
Expansion of job training and services:
Between 2017 and 2019, Homeboy will:
Create 150 new jobs in social enterprises. All employees will receive comprehensive services, including case management, tattoo removal, mental health, education, and employment counseling. New hires will include front-line managers, drivers, bakers, sous chefs, etc.; the majority will be former gang members and previously incarcerated men and women.
Hire additional case managers, mentors, mental health professionals, and others who play key roles in the healing process. Priority given to Homeboy program graduates.
Expand existing social enterprises to new locations.
Research and launch one to two new social enterprises.
According to the Department of Justice, over 2.2 million individuals serve time in federal and state prisons, and millions cycle through local jails each year. 95 percent of these individuals will be released. Thousands of men and women are returning to Los Angeles County in need of tremendous support if they hope to avoid recidivating and successfully reintegrate into the community.
Research from the Vera Institute of Justice shows that viable vocational, educational, and employment programs provide the best chance of successful long-term reentry. The 103,000 gang members in L.A. County face unique challenges, including civil injunctions, institutionalization, and visible tattoos that make them targets when entering certain neighborhoods. These issues make it difficult to travel for a job or enroll in education.
Homeboys 18-month program is a proven success in addressing these problems. According to a longitudinal study by the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, 70 percent of program graduates have not recidivated two years later. Each year, the organization serves approximately 9,000 individuals. However, the need for services vastly outweighs Homeboys capacity to provide them. For every trainee enrolled in the 18-month program, Homeboy turns away an estimated 15.