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If L.A. Saved the Hollywood Sign, Can it Save Homeboy Industries?

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Father Gregory Boyle, right, of Homeboy Industries Speaks at Central Library with Celeste Fremon of WitnessLA and Louis Perez of Homeboy Industries at Central Library | Photo by Zach Behrens/LAist
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Homeboy Industries, the organization that works on gang intervention through jobs and social services, has taken a large hit -- about 330 of its 429 employees were laid off yesterday. Father Gregory Boyle officially announced the news last night at Central Library in an event discussing his latest book, "Tattoos on the Heart," which has been on the LA Times best seller list for the past six weeks.

"All day long, people were handing me money and sobbing," Boyle said of the lachrymose atmosphere inside the Chinatown headquarters, which is home to Homegirl Cafe, Homeboy Bakery and Homeboy Maintenance. "Everybody was hugging me and saying 'we'd work for you for free.'"

The 22-year-old organization that sees 12,000 people through its doors is based on compassion and love. Through tattoo removal, counseling and a job offer for many coming straight out of prison, Homeboy Industries has helped thousands change their lives.