New York Activist Frank Selvaggi and Bill Shea have donated $100,000 to the The Ali Forney Center, the nation’s largest organization working on behalf of homeless LGBT youth for its “Homeless for the Holidays” campaign.
The “Homeless for the Holidays” campaign was launched to support the Campaign for Youth Shelter, an effort led by the Ali Forney Center with other service providers and activists in the local LGBT community to create more shelters and beds for the severe problem of throwaway and homeless LGBT youth in New York City. NYC only offers around 250 shelter beds for homeless youth, although a census released in 2008 by the Empire State Coalition found that almost 4000 youths must go without shelter each night in New York and now 4 years later the number is dramatically higher.
Frank Selvaggi and Bill Shea are longtime activists and philanthropists. Selvaggi serves as Treasurer of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and is on the Board of Directors of Freedom to Marry. Shea is the National Director of Creative Services of Autism Speaks, the nation’s largest autism science and advocacy organization.
“We have been concerned about the most vulnerable members of our community, especially in light of the drastic cuts in funding that have historically helped keep our homeless youth safe. Through our contribution, we want to lead by example and challenge our peers and colleagues to do the same. During this holiday season, we all need to look deep into our hearts and wallets so that all members of our community, particularly our endangered and homeless LGBT youth, can be safe.”
LGBT homeless youth is not a new problem in New York City. It has one that has existed for decades. Many LGBT youths are more often kicked out of their homes than straight youths. And even if they are not kicked out, they may feel so uncomfortable that they leave. and they graviatate to the bigger city’s like New York where they hope to find acceptance.
The lack of services that NYC provides for its homeless in general is sparse and it’s also a brutal enviroment for adults let alone LGBT teenagers who live in fear of the city’s shelter system.