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Ali Forney Center Will Build Additional Facility With New Funding
By Nathan James
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and the City Council today announced an award of $3 million to the Ali Forney LGBT Homeless Shelter, for the construction of a new 18-bed facility in a renovated building owned by the city.
The new residence, named for Golden Girls actress Bea Arthur, who left the Center a $300,000 bequest, will not be charged rent by the city, and will provide “stability and support” to homeless LGBT teens, said Executive Director Carl Siciliano.
The group serves the NYC’s estimated 4,000 homeless gay youths, most of whom sleep on the streets or engage in sex work to escape the elements.
Until the new facility is completed, there are, according to Council Speaker and mayoral candidate Christine Quinn, just 259 beds available to serve this population. “We think this funding is a step in the right direction for our LGBT youth,” she said.
LGBT youth, who are often thrown out of their homes after coming out, migrate to the city, says Siciliano, “and they need to know that someone supports them”. The Manhattan shelter will provide safe space, programs, and additional beds at a time when the number of young LGBT homeless peple is “constantly growing”.
The Borough President’s office concurred that the new funds would be a “boon” for the LGBT community. The non-profit Ali Forney Center does receive subsidies from the federal government, but these, said Siciliano, “were barely covering rent” at the Center’s existing location. The new funds, he noted, would help the Center to stay afloat.