The Dream Center serves as a beacon of hope to underserved communities throughout Los Angeles. With a Christ-centered approach to reaching out and opening doors to those in need, the Los Angeles Dream Center is truly helping people restore and rebuild their lives. Now in our 28th year, we are fulfilling an even greater mission than the one originally envisioned by co-founder Pastor Matthew Barnett.
Pastor Barnett’s dream began in 1994 when at age 20 he joined his father, Pastor Tommy Barnett. The two led a small church in an inner-city Los Angeles community plagued by crime and gang activity. During the first few months serving the church, his faith was relentlessly challenged. The pews remained practically empty on Sundays. With virtually no staff to help operate the church, he became increasingly discouraged. “One day God spoke to me and said, ‘Forget about where you want to be, and just start serving with whatever I put in your hand,’” he remembers. “The ministry started by me moving my desk outside the office, onto the street corner. I had three bags of food and a little old soccer ball to play kick with the kids in the neighborhood. And that’s where the Dream Center began.”
Renewing HOpe and Transforming Lives
Since then, thousands of lives have been touched. Located in the former Queen of Angels hospital alongside the Hollywood Freeway, we lie on a hilltop of hope for people each day through our transformational programs. Our outreach programs reach over 20 neighborhoods across L.A. County every week by providing free food, clothing, furniture, children’s programs and other basic needs for individuals and families. With more than 555 spaces of shelter, our residential programs offer free personalized care, guidance and mentorship. This gives people the opportunity to rebuild their lives in a safe and structured environment. Our resource programs partner with various organizations to supply free amenities, such as an on-campus diner, gym facility and educational tutoring, to further equip people to thrive in society.
A glance at our milestones
The testimonials from people whose lives have been miraculously touched by the Dream Center are too numerous to share. In recognition of the Dream Center’s 28th anniversary, here are three inspirational stories of individuals whose lives were forever changed through this remarkable center.
Bailey – Discipleship & Connections recovery programs
By serving in the Dream Center’s children’s ministry over the past year, Bailey Woods has realized her calling. “Through the Dream Center Connections program and my involvement with the kids ministry, I’ve discovered my God given passion for working with children,” she said. “I’m at a place where I feel that my life has true purpose and meaning.”
While Bailey now feels purpose driven about her new path, she felt completely lost for most of her life. Raised in a Christian home, Bailey struggled with feelings of abandonment when as a young child her parents divorced. Her unresolved emotional issues resulted in her self-harming and developing an eating disorder. As a teenager, she was hospitalized at a psychiatric facility and eventually fell in the throes of a six-year meth addiction. Her life continued to spiral out of control before getting arrested in March 2020. Following her release, she cried out to God for help.
When a family member who went through the Dream Center’s Discipleship recovery program shared about the life-changing experience there, Bailey decided to apply. “This has turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” she said.
Joshua- Discipleship & Connections Recovery programs
Feeling rooted is a welcome change for Joshua, who once battled a crystal meth addiction that crippled him with a meth-induced psychosis. Becoming homeless and later arrested, he turned to the Dream Center and enrolled in the Discipleship recovery program. The next year, he participated in the Connections program, where he learned how to work with various equipment and tools. He spent his third year at the Dream Center’s Adult Education Department, which led to his interview for his current job at Pacific Energy Service. “Although my experience was limited, my drive and attitude took me farther than any of my skills could have,” he said.
The Dream Center’s programs not only enabled Joshua to land a steady job, they also influenced him to focus on his mental and physical health. He no longer struggles with anxiety, and he also managed to lose 80 pounds.
marie – Discipleship & Connections recovery programs
& former family floor resident
A wife and mother of two boys, Marie Burgos-Garcia had spent nearly two decades struggling with a drug addiction when in June 2018 she faced a three-year prison sentence for smuggling illegal immigrants across the Mexican border. “I was broken, afraid, mad at the world,” she said. “My husband told me about the Los Angeles Dream Center and, no longer wanting to live a life of crime and addiction, I agreed to apply for their program.”
After learning wise spiritual principles during her time in the Discipleship and Connections programs, Marie found the strength to conquer her addictions. She also began putting her priorities in the right places. “My goals have changed completely,” she said. “Whereas I once was focused on drugs and my addiction, today what’s important to me is my relationship with God and my family.”
Marie believes that one of the most valuable lessons she learned during her time at the Dream Center is placing her assuredness in God above all else. “Before my arrival, I used to depend on people’s love in order for me to feel secure,” she said. “Now I know that my security comes from God alone.”