From the Hollywood neighborhood, the storytelling capital of the world, DOOR Los Angeles focuses on the often debilitating and stereotypical "single stories" of "the homeless," "the gang member," "the celebrity," "the blacks and whites," or any expression of "those people," while reflecting on how Jesus often challenges our perceptions through parables. Los Angeles is also the epicenter of the nation's homelessness and human trafficking issues, and Hollywood holds real-life scenes of immense wealth amidst a silent chorus of many individuals who have failed to achieve the American Dream. Come to Los Angeles and see what is just outside the camera frames; hear testimonies from people doing all they can to make it here; be fed and hosted by a local Latino population; and see the face of God when we all tap into our vulnerabilities, together.
DOOR Los Angeles Social Media
Discover is DOOR's short term mission trip/service-learning program that includes time for service, learning, and reflection. Read more about the Discover program.
Los Angeles' Discover program presents service as a form of worship and as a way to move beyond single stories to the hard task of racial reconciliation through the doorway of service. Participants serve with a variety of populations, mostly the homeless, hearing the stories and witnessing the struggles and vitality of agency clients. In the evening, Elizabeth, Los Angeles City Director, along with local Discern summer staff and guest speakers challenge participants to consider their service experience as worship, reflect on their reactions, and examine how the Gospel asks people of faith to respond to injustice on personal and systemic levels.
- Agencies serving the homeless population
- Food banks/pantries
- Local church outreach
- Gang prevention program
Evening programming in Los Angeles may include:
- Testimonials from folks who have, or are currently, experiencing homelessness
- Stories from local teens about the ways gentrification has hurt the heritage of their predominantly Central American immigrant neighborhood
- Stories in progress of individuals involved in gang tensions
- Public transportation is still expanding in Los Angeles, so private transportation is preferred. However, arrangements can be made if interested in public transit. Contact the city director for more information.
- Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Burbank Bob Hope Airport (BUR) are both good airport options.
- Vans are best, though we are happy to accommodate charter buses as well.
- Parking considerations: Parking is free in both lodging locations. There is ample lot space at First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood and driveway space at Gregory Ave. Street parking is also available, but pay close attention to daily street sweeping signs as tickets are more than $70!
First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood
- Houses weeks with 20 or more total participants
- Separate male/female sleeping areas. Participants sleep on the floor and need to bring sleeping bags/rolls and towels.
- Community shower, requiring alternating male/female use
- Common/recreation areas include the Sanctuary, Chapel, Rose Garden, Lawn, and basketball court
La Casa de la Comunidad on Gregory Ave
- Houses groups of 16 or fewer participants
- Separate male/female sleeping areas in rooms with bunk bed cots. Participants need to bring sleeping bags/rolls and towels.
- Separate male/female bathrooms with a toilet and two showers each
- Common/recreation areas include a common room, porch, community garden, and a large courtyard with a basketball hoop
DOOR's Discern program provides summer staff and local yearlong engagement opportunities for young adults. Read more about the Discern program.
DOOR Los Angeles' Discern program is changing the notion of what leadership training looks like for teens and young adults in the church and faith-based nonprofits. Los Angeles has built a holistic curriculum that values diversity and works best in shared, peer-to-peer learning environments.
DOOR Los Angeles' Discern program features:
- Hosting and welcoming, both week long Discover groups and yearlong Dwellers
- Public speaking, mostly with Discover groups and local congregations
- Presenting personal testimonies and overcoming single stories
- Fearless feedback, giving and receiving
- Devotional/Bible studies
- Spiritual mentorship
- Resume building
- New media photography and culture
- College and career mentorship
As a DOOR Los Angeles Discern participant, you will receive:
- Housing arrangements at La Casa de la Comunidad, if needed
- Regular meals are provided when Discover groups visit
- Public transit passes are provided upon request
- A stipend of $150/week is offered during summer months
- Program curriculum is concentrated June through August, with invitations for local members to attend seminars, movies, potlucks, speaking engagements, and retreats throughout the year.
Dwell is a yearlong program for young adults interested in dedicating a year to service, intentional community, discernment, and faith development. Read more about the Dwell program.
The Los Angeles Dwell Experience
To live in Los Angeles means to seek the face of God amidst the juxtaposition of fame, fortune, and dramatic poverty. With the largest and most diverse homeless population in the nation, Dwellers work in agencies and ministries that engage issues of economic injustice, mental health, domestic violence, and human trafficking. The Dwell team also shares life with a vibrant community of predominantly Central American immigrant neighbors and their children, working towards shared use of La Casa de la Comunidad, the community house attached to the Dwell duplex.
DOOR Los Angeles asks young adults to live simply, intentionally, and to work towards racial reconciliation in the country's second largest urban environment. Here, the storytelling capital of the world, Dwellers will explore the damaging dominant narratives that movies, television, and advertisements perpetuate, especially in the negative portrayals of minorities and how mindsets of racism and classism converge to perpetuate mass incarceration, homelessness, and trafficking. During multiple retreats, including one to study the US/Mexico border, and on weekly community days we prayerfully learn to ask questions like:
- Who are the modern day Samaritans, and how would Jesus expect me to act towards people who don't look like me?
- How does LA's $5 billion pornography industry relate to homelessness, runaways, human trafficking, and teen suicides?
- Should we rethink Jesus' mandates on forgiveness, particularly as it relates to those who've made mistakes, be they studio executives, former gang members, single mothers, or homeless veterans?
DOOR Los Angeles invites you to come discover God working in surprisingly redemptive ways outside the paparazzi's frames!
All Los Angeles Dwellers spend 32 hours each week working at an agency placement like one of the following:
- An agency that assists and inspires homeless youth to build self-sufficient lives, and provides a safe place to be creative and less vulnerable to the talons of traffickers.
- An agency that works to build a dynamic network of relationships with those experiencing homelessness, those who have been recently housed, service providers, public agencies, business leaders, and the broader community.
- An agency that engages with the most vulnerable of the chronic homeless through street outreach, and then connects clients to a family of agencies working together to end homelessness.
- A church program that provides compassionate and empowering services for marginalized friends while also tending to spiritual needs.
- An agency that secures permanent housing for chronically homeless individuals and provides supportive services thereafter to assure their housing is sustained.
Local Support and Connections
Los Angeles Dwellers will find local support from:
- The DOOR Los Angeles board which is comprised of local pastors and deacons, neighbors and former neighbors, small business entrepreneurs and nonprofit directors, and Dwell alumni and consciously works to maintain a dynamic diversity
- The local Discern team- teens and young adults who work and volunteer for DOOR
- A growing network of Dwell alumni who remain in their job assignments, attend nearby seminaries and colleges, and help maintain the community garden
Los Angeles Dwellers live in a furnished duplex with 4 bedrooms, 2 kitchens, and 2 bathrooms. Each bedroom comfortably fits 2 Dwellers.
DOOR Los Angeles provides full access to unlimited public transit use (bus, subway, rail) and Dwellers are expected to use this as their primary source of movement. LA is becoming increasingly bike friendly as well.