Among the many places devastated by Hurricane Sandy was one close to the hearts of Queerty’s staff—the Ali Forney Center’s drop-in center in Chelsea. This weekend workers were finally able to access the building and assess the damage—which has tragically rendered the center “uninhabitable.”
“It’s destroyed. Water went at least four feet up the walls, and everything in there, including phones, computers, refrigerators, supplies, and the building floors has been irreparably damaged,” said Carl Siciliano, the center’s executive director. “I do not see us being able to return there, especially since our lease ends in January.
The drop-in center, located on West 22nd Street, has been AFC’s home for seven years, and is the entry point for a variety of services for the LGBT youth it serves, including medical and mental-health care, HIV testing, housing referrals and employment assistance.
“This is a terrible tragedy for the homeless LGBT youth we serve there,” said Siciliano in a statement. “This space was dedicated to our most vulnerable kids, the thousands stranded on the streets without shelter… [It's] basically a lifeline for LGBT kids whose lives are in danger.”
While AFC is preparing to move into a new larger permanent home, it won’t be ready for months. In the interim, the New York City LGBT Center has offered temporary space for the organization to use, but the logistics of that have yet to be determined.
To donate or volunteer visit AFC’s Hurricane Sandy relief page.