Ali Forney Drop-In Center Destroyed by Hurricane Sandy

Update,December 4, 2012

Dear Friends,

When Sandy destroyed the Ali Forney drop-in program, we were faced with an unprecedented challenge. How would we provide for the hundreds of homeless LGBT youths who turned to us for help while trying to survive on the streets? How would we raise the funds to replace what was lost and move into a new home?

What happened next seems like a miracle. The LGBT Community Center quickly offered us space to continue our drop-in services. And  as news of our loss spread quickly,  a great many people reached out to help us, generously sending donations, and creating fundraising events. And now four weeks after the terrible storm, we have raised the $400K in funds we needed to replace what was lost and to move into a new home.

But significant challenges remain. For every day we respond to a two-fold disaster, that of family rejection and inadequate resources. Every day youths come to us heartbroken and terrified after being driven from their homes. And every day we are forced to turn many of these youths into the streets because there are far too few shelter beds available. It is terrible to see kids cry when they realize they will have to spend the night in the streets.

So we want our new drop-in center to be open 24 hours a day, so that we can help these poor kids during the night. And we need to turn to our supporters to help us keep our shelters open, as we face the challenge of the loss of federal funding for 21 of our shelter beds next summer.

I am greatly encouraged by the overwhelming generosity and caring so many of you have shown our kids after Sandy And I hope that you will continue to stand by us as we work to raise the funds to better meet their needs. Together we can wipe the tears from their eyes and give them homes where they can be loved and affirmed for who they are. With your help we can build a better future for our kids.

I thank you for all your kindness and support, and wish you a joyful holiday season.

Carl Siciliano

Executive Director, Ali Forney Center

 

Dear Friends,

On Friday we were finally able to inspect our drop-in center in Chelsea, half a block from the Hudson River. Our worst fears were realized; everything was destroyed and the space is uninhabitable. The water level went four feet high, destroying our phones, computers, refrigerator, food and supplies.

This is a terrible tragedy for the homeless LGBT youth we serve there. This space was dedicated to our most vulnerable kids, the thousands stranded on the streets without shelter, and was a place where they received food, showers, clothing, medical care, HIV testing and treatment, and mental health and substance abuse services. Basically a lifeline for LGBT kids whose lives are in danger.

We are currently scrambling for a plan to provide care to these desperate kids while we prepare to ultimately move into a larger space that will better meet our needs. The NYC LGBT Center has very kindly and generously offered to let us temporarily use some of their space, and we hope to determine the viability of that on Monday. Also,  I am especially thankful that none of our housing sites were affected by the hurricane and that none of our clients or staff were injured by the storm.

It is heartbreaking to see this space come to such a sad end. For the past seven years it has been a place of refuge to thousands of kids reeling from being thrown away by their parents for being LGBT. For many of these kids coming to our drop-in center provided  their first encounter with a loving and affirming LGBT community.

I thank all of you for your care and support in a most difficult time. 

- Carl Siciliano

Our Drop-in Center has temporally relocated to the LGBT Center located at 208 West 13th Street (between 7th and 8th Avenues). Our hours of operation are 10:00am-5:30pm and our phone number is 646.358.1755.

AFC Sandy Relief PRESS


Please help us by donating HEREor send checks to:

Ali Forney Center/ATTN: Andria Ottley,    224 West 35th St,    Suite 1500    NY,NY 10001


A Letter from AFC Executive Director and LGBT Community Center, Executive Director

 
November 14th, 2012

Dear Friends,

We write jointly today with an update on the Ali Forney Drop-In Center (AFC). As many of you know, the AFC drop-in center on W. 22nd Street was decimated last week by Hurricane Sandy. The space has been rendered uninhabitable, equipment was destroyed and AFC was faced with the serious challenge of finding a way to continue offering the vital services and programs that our LGBT youth desperately need.

Luckily, the drop-in center did not remain homeless for long. The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center immediately recognized how important these services are, and is now providing AFC with a temporary space for operations.

Starting Thursday, November 8, the AFC Drop-In Center resumed operations at the LGBT Community Center at 208 W. 13th Street, in room 212. Regular drop-in hours will remain as Monday through Friday from 10 AM – 6 PM. The drop-in center will remain at the LGBT Community Center until an already-secured permanent space uptown is ready for move-in, which is anticipated to be late December.

We are both so pleased to be working together to keep the Ali Forney Drop-In Center in operation. It is empowering to know that we can depend on our community’s long history of support and solidarity, working together, when faced with adversity.

Sincerely,

Glennda Testone
Executive Director
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center


Carl Siciliano
Executive Director
Ali Forney Center

ALI FORNEY CENTER DIRECTOR ON IMPACT OF HURRICANE SANDY ON LGBT HOMELESS YOUTH

 
NEW YORK, NY - November 5, 2012 - The following statement on the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy can be attributed to Carl Siciliano, the Executive Director of the Ali Forney Center (AFC), the nation's largest services and advocacy organization working on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) runaway and homeless youth.
 
"I am saddened to report that this past weekend we were finally able to inspect our Drop-In Center on West 22nd Street - which serves as the entry point to many of our programs for LGBTQ youth, including medical care, HIV testing, mental health services, housing referrals, an employment assistance program, and more - and it is 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. I do not see us being able to return there, especially since our lease ends in January.
 
"This facility provided care to the most vulnerable youth served by AFC, those stranded out on the streets awaiting shelter. Having our drop-in center destroyed means it is likely that we are among the hardest-hit of all LGBTQ organizations in the city. While our new 24-hour drop-in center will open as planned in a different location, it will not be ready for full service for several months.
 
"We are pursuing every means possible to take care of our youth in the interim, and it is my hope that our community and city will rally behind us as we prepare to face one of the greatest challenges in AFC's history."

 

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