Committed to saving the lives of LGBTQ+ young people, in 2002 Carl Siciliano founded the Ali Forney Center (AFC) in memory of Ali Forney. Since AFC’s launch with just six beds in a church basement, the organization has grown to become the largest agency dedicated to LGBTQ+ homeless youths in the country — assisting over 2,000 youths per year through a 24-hour Drop-In Center which provides over 70,000 meals annually, medical and mental health services through an on-site clinic, and a scattered-site housing program.
Our mission is to protect LGBTQ+ youths from the harms of homelessness and empower them with the tools needed to live independently.
AFC has been heralded for our full continuum of care approach to services for LGBTQ+ homeless youth. AFC’s founder, Carl Siciliano, was named a White House Champion of Change by President Obama, citing the wide recognition AFC’s programs have received for their quality and innovation.
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We’re proud to operate at a very high-efficiency rating, meaning that nearly 85% of our revenue directly benefits our clients. 11% of our revenue is used to operate our programs and only 5% of our revenue is spent on fundraising.
Ali Forney was a homeless gender-nonconforming youth who was forced to live on the streets at the age of 13. Ali resorted to street work and drug use to survive. They kept a close group of friends and educated anyone they encountered about HIV prevention and safe sex. Ali took pride in helping others like them. Ali was well known by the police because they aggressively advocated that the NYPD investigate a series of murders of other homeless queer youth they had befriended. Carl Siciliano, AFC’s founder, met Ali while working as the director of a homeless youth Drop-In Center when Ali was 17.
In December of 1997, Ali was murdered on the streets. They were 22 years old. Their tragic death called attention to the atrocious conditions for homeless LGBTQ+ youth in New York. In 2002, committed to making a difference and honoring Ali, Carl founded the Ali Forney Center.
The Ali Forney Center houses and protects homeless LGBTQ+ youths living on the streets of New York. Like Ali, our Street Outreach Team educates teens about safe sex and HIV prevention. In our time we have grown to provide medical and mental health services. We also provide volunteer mentors, educational and career programs, life skills training, and much more. Our goal is to not only provide food, water, and shelter:
Our goal is to transform the lives of these young people so that they may reclaim their lives and never live on the streets again. Ali's murder has never been brought to justice, however, the spirit of Ali continues to live on in our work and in each of the lives we change.
AFC’s clients come from all walks of life. More than 80% are kicked out of their homes for being who they are. The remainder run away due to abuse, neglect, or a combination of rejection and abuse, but they are incredibly resilient.