The Ali Forney Center in New York City is one of the nation’s largest shelters for homeless LGBT youth, with various health resources and emergency beds to help serve the thousands of young people on the streets, often because their families have rejected them for having a queer identity. It seems that Hurricane Sandy “decimated” the shelter’s drop-in center with four feet of storm surge water, destroying the building’s electricity infrastructure, floors, computers, phones, files, furniture, and essentially everything in the facility. The center’s executive director, Carl Siciliano, offered this message to supporters:
This is a terrible tragedy for the homeless LGBT youth we serve there. 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. [...]
We have been deluged with kind offers from people who wish to volunteer and donate goods. Unfortunately, we will have to provide our services in the time being in much smaller spaces that won’t accommodate volunteers or allow for much storage space. The best way people can reach out to help in this very challenging time is by making monetary donations. Please go to our website at www.aliforneycenter.org/hurricanesandy
It is heartbreaking to see this space come to such a sad end. For the past seven years it has been a place of refuge to thousands of kids reeling from being thrown away by their parents for being LGBT. For many of these kids coming to our drop-in center provided their first encounter with a loving and affirming LGBT community. I thank all of you for your care and support in a most difficult time.