Since its drop-in center for homeless LGBT youth was destroyed several weeks ago by Hurricane Sandy, New York’s Ali Forney Center has raised over $200,000 – but AFC is still only halfway towards its goal.
Though the AFC was planning on moving to a larger space in Harlem in early 2013, the devastation of its Chelsea drop-in center left thousands of vulnerable LGBT youth without refuge and vital resources. Thankfully, New York’s LGBT Center offered Ali Forney a temporary home and online donations, to the tune of $100,000, poured in immediately following the news.
A fundraiser on November 11 brought out friends of and in the gay community, including Mike Ruiz, Ally Sheedy and MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts, while bringing in $33,000. AFC board member Bill Shea and his husband Frank Selvaggi pledged to match that amount with a $33,000 donation of their own.
Carl Siciliano, Ali Forney’s founder and executive director, has “been blown away,” by the influx of support. “We’ve never had so much money come in within such a short period of time,” he told The Villager. Siciliano explained that AFC will need about $400,000 to deal with the damage done to the Chelsea center and expedite the move to Harlem.
There’s no clear timeline for the move, but Siciliano acknowledged that it will take a great deal of additional time, effort and money to get back on their feet again, however, he’s confident after the immense support the Ali Forney center has received from New York’s LGBT community.
“I know we’re going to come out of this stronger,” he said. “The core of this community is even stronger than a hurricane.”
You can learn more about the Ali Forney Center and help out with a donation here.
Photo: Jeffrey James Keyes