Photographed by Christopher Lane on August 10 in New York City
Jama Shelton, Director of Housing
Julianna Velazquez, Client
Carl Siciliano, Executive Director
Manley Joseph, Client
The Ali Forney Center
YEAR FOUNDED: 2002
HEADQUARTERS: New York City
MISSION: To provide homeless LGBT youths, age 16-24, with the services they need to escape the streets and become independent as they move from adolescence to adulthood
ANNUAL BUDGET: $3.4 million
NUMBER OF STAFF: 50
INNOVATION: The center provides short- and long-term housing -- 32 beds in total, in six apartments -- plus free medical care, HIV testing, mental health services, showers, food, computer access, and job training and placement at its drop-in center in Chelsea.
IMPACT: Since the center's transitional housing program opened in 2006, seven kids have moved into their own residences. "The vast majority of rights that we've achieved in various cities and states as a community don't hit kids," says executive director Carl Siciliano. "So if a kid comes out and their parents refuse to support them, they're just in this really vulnerable state. We need to create a structure where kids can be housed and nurtured and supported from adolescence to adulthood if their parents refuse to do it."
RECENT WORK: Partnering with Carson Kressley on a program to provide kids with clothes suitable for job and school interviews
FUTURE GOALS: Making available 16 more beds by the end of the year; Siciliano would also like to put the financing together to start purchasing houses instead of continuing to rent apartments