LA2050 Grants Challenge applications are open now through June 28th, 2024.
2023 Grants Challenge

Opportunities for People Who Have Been Incarcerated

In light of mass incarceration and mass deportation policies, our team of directly-impacted community leaders implement culturally relevant programs to expose formerly incarcerated individuals to opportunities to organize and mobilize their communities to become peace builders and advocates for justice.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

Opportunities for People Who Have Been Incarcerated

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

Central LA

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

Community safety and violence prevention is at the core of our mission and programming. Homies Unidos serve immigrant communities through violence prevention and intervention initiatives, existing at the intersection of the fights for criminal justice reform and immigrant rights advocacy - a field of advocacy now identified as Crimmigration. Since its founding in 1998, we have served over 18,000 youth and adults through lifestyle recovery, tattoo removal, leadership development, and emergency support services to formerly incarcerated individuals and their families. Our violence reduction and gang intervention strategy includes the implementation of culturally relevant programming and prioritizing service to recent immigrants who have fled violence in Central America. By identifying and addressing the needs of formerly-incarcerated youth and adults, we are able to uplift and empower those at the margins of society to become leaders in their communities and agents of social change.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

As part of our Reentry Program, we implement the Epiphany Project curriculum, a 12-workshop series designed to support the successful reentry of those returning home from incarceration and prevent high risk behavior amongst immigrant youth and adults impacted by the justice system, including current and former gang members. Through the use of cognitive behavioral concepts, we equip directly-impacted participants with tools and strategies to understand their decision-making and thought processes. When an individual becomes aware of the triggers and emotions that influence their actions, they are able to employ self-assessment and intervention strategies to modify their behavior. It is our goal for participants to realize their purpose and potential through exposure to resources and success strategies that include knowing their rights, understanding laws and judicial systems, exploring career opportunities, and setting goals. The curriculum consists of four phases: Awareness, Intervention, Rights, and Tools. Workshop topics include, but are not limited to, Trauma-Informed: Why Hurt People Hurt People, Self-Awareness & Leadership, Gang & Street Violence, Drugs & Alcohol, Mass Incarceration: Criminal Law & Procedure, War on Immigrants: Crimmigration & Mass Deportations, Pathways to Education, Pathways to Career Readiness, and Financial Literacy.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

The Epiphany Project is an entrypoint for individuals reentering their communities after incarceration. Graduates of the program become a part of our criminalized immigrant support network as active community members and justice advocates. One key element of the Epiphany Project is that we subsidize the cost of tattoo removal services for participants. While removing their tattoos, we provide job readiness training to help clients research vocational trades, resume building and mock interviews. Upon program completion, clients are given employment opportunities in places where previously marginalized, and most importantly, a clean slate and a second chance to succeed in our communities. With our extensive reentry services, LA County will see a reduction in recidivism in jails and juvenile halls, reducing violence and crime by successully graduating and removing the tattoos of 75% of our clients.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

We track progress towards objectives and evaluate effectiveness and outcomes through pre-and post-surveys completed by program participants. Through feedback from program participants and various community events, we continually adjust program designs and implementation according to evolving needs of the participants and families over time. Our data sources include sign-in sheets, client intake files and our protocols include confidentiality and HIPAA guidelines. We recently developed a database to include case management tracking, staff notes, and reporting. The electronic database provides us with improved data tracking mechanisms of number of clients served, services provided, program completion, case management needs and referras made. By accurately tracking clients served, case management, and program participation we ensure our community is being successfully served.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 500

Indirect Impact: 5,000