Ali Forney Center

The Ali Forney Center (AFC), based in New York City, is the largest LGBT community center helping LGBT homeless youth in the United States.[1] The AFC both manages and develops transitional housing for its clients.[2] The AFC helps approximately 1,000 youths every year, most between sixteen and twenty-four years old.[3] The AFC is named after Ali Forney, a transgender youth who was murdered in New York in 1997.[3]


The AFC is located in eight different buildings in Brooklyn and Queens and in 2012 provided 77 beds a night for homeless LGBT youth.[4] AFC also runs a drop-in center, open on weekdays where clients can apply for housing, are provided food and hygiene services and can get health care for free.[4] Siciliano says that the clients served by the drop-in center are often in the most acute crisis.[5] AFC serves the LGBT population because they represent approximately forty percent of New York's young homeless people.[6]


The AFC has been serving homeless LGBT youth in New York since 2002.[7] It was founded by Carl Siciliano[3] who continues serving as the executive director. When it first opened, it had only six beds.[8] Siciliano, who knew and respected Forney, recalls that it was a challenge to secure funding for the first two years of the shelter's operation.[9] By 2007, they had 32 beds, 50 staff and could offer free medical care, HIV testing, hygiene services, job training and job placement at the drop-in center.[10]

During the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the drop-in center was flooded.[5] A fund raiser hosted by Ally Sheedy helped raise money for the shelter to relocate and reopen the drop-in center.[5] Through word of mouth and social media, an additional $100,000 was raised in one day to help the shelter.[5]

In July 2015, the AFC broke ground on a new Bea Arthur Homeless Shelter.[11] The shelter is named after the actress, Bea Arthur, who left $300,000 in her will to the AFC.[12] Arthur's endowment to the shelter allowed it stay open during the recession in 2009.[13]

The shelter has received donations from other sources as well in order to expand and help maintain operating costs. In 2009, the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island donated $200,000 to help the shelter stay open after losing nearly $450,000 in funding due to the economic downturn.[3] In 2012, the New York City Council and the Manhattan borough president provided $3.3 million to renovate the building that will house the Bea Arthur shelter.[12] In addition to the money that she left in her will, Arthur also helped raise $40,000 for AFC in 2005 with her one-woman show, "Bea Arthur on Broadway: Just Between Friends."[14]

See also


  1. ^ Rawles, Timothy (July 19, 2015). ""Golden Girls" actress Bea Arthur funds LGBT homeless shelter in her will". San Diego Gay & Lesbian News. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
  2. ^ MacBride, Elizabeth (July 14, 2015). "The Star Entrepreneur Donates So That Others May Build Homes, Schools". Crain's New York Business. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d Ong, Bao (December 8, 2009). "Church Aids Expansion of Shelter for Gay Youths". City Room Blog from The New York Times. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  4. ^ a b Dunlap, David W. (November 20, 2012). "Homeless Gay and Transgender Youths Find a New Home in Greenwich Village". City Room Blog of The New York Times. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d D'Addario, Daniel (November 9, 2012). "Ali Forney Center Throws Fundraising Bash for Flooded Drop-In Center". New York Observer. Retrieved July 22, 2015 – via Regional Business News - EBSCO.
  6. ^ Lewis, Rebecca (February 25, 2015). "New Report Finds Sex Equals Survival for Many Homeless LGBTQ Youth". WFUV Public Radio. Retrieved July 22, 2015 – via National Public Radio.
  7. ^ Pedro, Joseph (July 9, 2015). "Celebrate Summer with the Ali Forney Center in New York City". Passport Magazine. Archived from the original on July 23, 2015. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  8. ^ Thrasher, Steven W. (November 4, 2011). "A Church. A Shelter. Is It Safe?". The New York Times. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  9. ^ Beale, Lewis (May 31, 2007). "Homeless Man Inspires Shelter From the Storm". Back Stage East. 48 (22): 9. Retrieved July 22, 2015. – via EBSCO (subscription required)
  10. ^ Henderson, William (September 25, 2007). "The New Order". Advocate (993): 111. Retrieved July 22, 2015. – via EBSCO (subscription required)
  11. ^ "Bea Arthur Homeless Shelter Breaks Ground". Washington Blade. July 15, 2015. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  12. ^ a b Garner, Glenn (July 16, 2015). "Bea Arthur LGBT Shelter to Break Ground". Out. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  13. ^ "Work Begins in Village on Bea Arthur Residence for LGBT Homeless Youth". Metro. July 19, 2015. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  14. ^ Shapiro, Lila (July 21, 2015). "A Golden Girl's Legacy Brings Hope to LGBT Youth". Huffington Post. Retrieved July 22, 2015.