Pam Grier tweeted the news to hundreds of thousands of followers, Joseph Gordon-Levitt tweeted it to hundreds of thousands more, and in less than 24 hours, the Ali Forney Center had received more than 900 donations totaling $100,000, Siciliano said in an interview Sunday evening. “We’ve never had a day where $100,000 came in online before,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “That’s actually kind of phenomenal. And it shows the power of social media to do good.” Although LGBT youth had historically been marginalized by traditional, mainstream institutions, Siciliano said, now the community could rally around those needing help the most. And social media helped make it happen, allowing people to help each other without waiting for someone else to tell them what to do.
Many thanks also to @RugbyBenCohen who also helped us spread the word via Twitter and a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone that was able to help. Words just escape me at how wonderful special you all are.
Yesterday’s fundraising was a big help to the AFC but they still have much further to go to recover from this disaster so they can continue to help out our little LGBT brothers and sisters.
Yesterday we were finally able to inspect our drop-in center in Chelsea, half a block from the Hudson River. 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. We are currently scrambling for a plan to provide care to these desperate kids while we prepare to ultimately move into a larger space that will better meet our needs. The NYC LGBT Center has very kindly and generously offered to let us temporarily use some of their space, and we hope to determine the viability of that on Monday.
We have been deluged with kind offers from people who wish to volunteer and donate goods. Unfortunately, we will have to provide our services in the time being in much smaller spaces that won’t accommodate volunteers or allow for much storage space. The best way people can reach out to help in this very challenging time is by making monetary donations. Please go to our website.
It is heartbreaking to see this space come to such a sad end. 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. I thank all of you for your care and support in a most difficult time.
this latest hurricane news is especially heartbreaking since it involves the most vulnerable of our community our own LGBT youth who have been through so much hardship and heartbreak already.
I know that everyone is pushed to the limits trying to do what they can and donate to the victims of Hurricane Sandy. But the Ali Forney center is one of the few resources in New York City that homeless at risk youth have. If everyone could just dig a bit deeper and help it would make a world of difference and just might help save a young gay persons life.
A gay man homeless man was severely beaten near Hancock Park in Los Angeles, CA this morning at about 1:00 am in what the LAPD is investigating as a hate crime.
The attacker approached the victim on the street calmly and after a short conversation in which the homeless man described his current situation and described himself as gay and having AIDS, the beating began.
The attacker uttered anti-gay slurs attacking him, kicking him and beat him up.
The victim is in his mid-30s and was taken to the hospital where he is in critical condition.
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.
**For information on the Campaign for Youth Shelter, click here. Or to make a donation to the Ali Forney Center, click here.