…but there is still much work to do. From Carl Siciliano, Ali Forney’s Executive Director via The Huffington Post:
Ten years later I am filled with gratitude for the response we have achieved from the LGBT community and many of our allies. This response has allowed the Ali Forney Center to become a remarkable success: We have become the largest and most comprehensive organization dedicated to homeless LGBT youth in the country. We now offer emergency shelter and longer-term housing, with a combined total of 77 beds in nine different residential facilities. We also offer two drop-in centers, where we are able to provide food, clothing, showers, free medical and mental-health care, and educational and vocational assistance, helping thousands of kids who have flocked to us for help from all over the country and the world. A great many have made excellent use of the support we offer and have gone on to successful careers and rewarding lives. The scope and quality of our services would not have been possible without the thousands of donors and volunteers who reached out to us with caring and compassion for our kids.
But I cannot let our success shield me from the bleak reality that still faces homeless LGBT youth in our city and across the nation. There are still far too few beds in New York City, where a homeless youth population of 3,800 must make do with fewer than 350 youth shelter beds. And the number of beds for homeless LGBT youth in the nation is a disgrace: There are fewer than 300 beds dedicated to them in the country. Most youth shelters continue to be operated by religious groups, many of which are not accepting of LGBT people. The handful of organizations providing housing to homeless LGBT youth across the country struggle to acquire resources and support.