The Ali Forney Center, the country’s largest and most comprehensive organization providing services and shelter to homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth, was ravaged by Hurricane Sandy last week.
The Center’s drop-in location, located a half-block from the Hudson River in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood, was completely destroyed and the space is now inhabitable. A statement from the organization stated that “the water level went four feet high, destroying our phones, computers, refrigerator, food and supplies.”
Carl Siciliano, the Ali Forney Center’s Executive Director and a blogger for HuffPost Gay Voices, wrote of the Center’s 10-year anniversary earlier this year, saying:
“Ten years later I am filled with gratitude for the response we have achieved from the LGBT community and many of our allies. This response has allowed the Ali Forney Center to become a remarkable success: We have become the largest and most comprehensive organization dedicated to homeless LGBT youth in the country. We now offer emergency shelter and longer-term housing, with a combined total of 77 beds in nine different residential facilities. We also offer two drop-in centers, where we are able to provide food, clothing, showers, free medical and mental-health care, and educational and vocational assistance, helping thousands of kids who have flocked to us for help from all over the country and the world.”
Sadly, now one of those drop-in centers is gone. As the release from Ali Forney states, “this space was dedicated to our most vulnerable kids, the thousands stranded on the streets without shelter, and was a place where they received food, showers, clothing, medical care, HIV testing and treatment, and mental health and substance abuse services. Basically a lifeline for LGBT kids whose lives are in danger.”
For more information on how you can help Ali Forney Center and the thousands of LGBT homeless youth who rely on their services, click here.
Below, view a slideshow featuring the stories of some of the Ali Forney Center’s youth: