A center for homeless LGBT youth in New York has been destroyed by the rampages of Hurricane Sandy.
The Ali Forney Center, a drop-in facility for homeless youth located on WEst 22nd Street in Manhattan’s West Chelsea neighborhood, was flooded with nearly four feet of water from the nearby Hudson River. The water has since receded, but Carl Siciliano, executive director of the Center, told the Washington Blade that the damage remains, leaving the facility “decimated.”
“Everything is destroyed – all of the electricity in the place, the floors, the computers, the laptops, the phones, files, all the furniture,” Siciliano says. “Everything is just destroyed. The refrigerator was floating and knocked over, all the food was out. The space is uninhabitable.”
“It is heartbreaking to see this space come to such a sad end,” writes Siciliano on the organization’s website. “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.”
The Ali Forney Center operates seven different housing facilities throughout the greater New York area, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. None of the other facilities were damaged. The NYC LGBT Center has offered to let the Ali Forney Center temporarily use some of their facilities during this time.
To donate to the rebuilding of the Ali Forney Center in Manhattan, visit the organizaiton’s website here.