Sunday, August 7, 2011

Big Expansion For Ali Forney Center

The New York City Council has awarded the Ali Forney Center the contract to take over a floundering 20-bed facility for homeless youth. Along with the contract comes a $620K grant. Julie Bolcer reports at the Advocate:
"We are grateful to have the additional shelter beds,” said Carl Siciliano, the executive director of the Ali Forney Center, in a telephone interview this week. “It is a terrible thing to see so many LGBT youth forced to survive out in the streets while they wait for beds. We hope to have the new site opened by October so fewer kids will have to suffer in the cold this winter." The most recent census funded by the City Council in 2007, prior to the current economic crisis, found that almost 4,000 homeless and runaway youths live in New York City. An estimated 40% of them are believed to be LGBT, a segment of homeless youngsters at elevated risk for HIV infection and suicide attempts.

Siciliano said city officials contacted him several weeks ago about taking over the shelter contract, and they agreed to a grant to prevent his organization from having to front any expenses. Located in two adjoining houses in the Sunset Park neighborhood, the fully furnished shelter will bring to 77 the total number of emergency and longer-term transitional beds managed mostly in Brooklyn by the Ali Forney Center, but the organization still has a waiting list of 180 young people.