Though Hurricane Sandy is long gone, every day we learn more about the devastating damage the storm caused along the East Coast, especially in New York and New Jersey.
On Monday, officials from the Ali Forney Center, a shelter for homeless LGBT youth in New York City, announced one of their locations suffered serious damages as well. According to executive director Carl Siciliano, the organization’s drop-in center located in Chelsea, half a block from the Hudson River, was struck badly by the superstorm:
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.
While none of Ali Forney’s housing sites were affected by the storm, the organization’s lease at the drop-in center ends in January, and so it is unlikely the organization will ever return to the same location. A new drop-in center will open at a different location as planned, but it won’t be ready for several months. In the meantime, the NYC LGBT Center has offered to let Ali Forney use some of its space.
The Ali Forney Center is the largest services and advocacy organization for LGBT homeless youth in the country, and it has been a haven for New York’s LGBT community for a decade. Now, the Center is asking for donations so the drop-in facility can restore some of the supplies it lost in the storm. If you’re able, please consider making a donation.