NYC: LGBT teen homeless center suffers major damage from Sandy

NYC: LGBT teen homeless center suffers major damage from Sandy

Among the casualties of Hurricane Sandy in New York City is an institution for homeless LGBT youth, the Ali Forney Center’s drop-in center on West 22nd Street in the West Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan.

Four feet of water from the Hudson River, just half a block away, surged into the facility when the storm hit Monday, executive director Carl Siciliano told the Washington Blade. “Everything is destroyed — all of the electricity in the place, the floors, the computers, the laptops, the phones, files, all the furniture,” he said.

“Everything is just destroyed. The refrigerator was floating and knocked over, all the food was out. The space is uninhabitable.”

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Siciliano said to the Blade, “The kids that come into that space are like our most vulnerable kids. They’re the ones who are out on the streets with nowhere to go. And that program’s really a lifeline for them. They get food and clothing and showers and bathroom facilities, medical care [and] HIV testing. It’s kind of our triage place in the city for kids who are chucked out on the streets.”

In the meantime the organization is finding alternatives for these young people, such as sending them to “storm centers” set up in Sandy’s wake, Siciliano told The Advocate. He has appealed to the federal, state, and local governments for assistance, and the Ali Forney Center is accepting donations on its website.