October 24, 2014
A bakery that employs former gang members is set to reopen Tuesday, eight years after it burned down.
The bakery is part of Homeboy Industries, a nonprofit rehabilitation center that employs about 250 former gang members and at-risk youths.
The bakery will open in a new facility downtown that will also serve as the headquarters for the center.
"It's announcing a message in the middle of the city: 'What if we invested in people rather than try to incarcerate our way out of this problem?"' said founder Father Gregory Boyle "There's not a ZIP Code that hasn't walked through our doors to seek help."
The original bakery burned down in 1999 in an electrical fire.
Homeboy Industries also runs a silk screening business and offers support services such as counseling, career help, tattoo removal and educational classes.
Initially aimed at helping members of eight gangs in the Boyle Heights neighborhood, Homeboy Industries now reaches out to about 600 gangs.