Ali Forney Center, New York LGBT Homeless Youth Shelter, Devastated By Hurricane Sandy

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.

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  • the other Greg

    Ali Forney Center always sounded like an impressive & much-needed place. I’m shocked that W. 22nd St. would be hit that hard, the news sites implied otherwise I thought. Damn! I guess one of my (several) jobs is now dedicated to LGBT & Democratic donations. :(

  • The Real Mike in Asheville

    My hubby and I have been hit with our own financial problems, not quite knowing yet where Dec and January rent is coming from, and we’re paying Nov rent, hopefully, next week.

    Nonetheless, we wil find something somehow to send this all too important group some money — it will probably be only $20, maybe $50; but we’ll find it, and send every month.

    And that should be the pitch from them — try to sign up supporters who can give, in small amounts, but every month. Every PBS and NPR station in the country does this.

    A sad heart today.

  • ChrisOutFM

    I just want to add that the other drop-in center for homeless LGBT youth in Manhattan, the New Alternatives Center on Christopher Street, was also decimated by Sandy and also desperately needs support in the form of money or food donations or volunteers to help with their programs including a Sunday suppers for LGBT homeless youth. The director, Kate Barnhart, just emailed me that “the kids are VERY hungry. They ate 20 large pizzas yesterday.” While they normally make and serve healthier dinners than pizzas, if they had the resources, I’m pretty sure they’d have bought 40 large pizzas, or 100, and there are definitely more than enough hungry LGBT kids without homes in the area to eat them.

    So please consider also donating to New Alternatives:

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