Ali Forney Center

Award Recipients - 2003

Carl Siciliano, Founder

The Ali Forney Center (AFC) is an emergency shelter providing services to homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer and questioning (LGBT&Q) youth.  AFC addresses the needs of this growing New York City population forced to survive on the streets when they face violence and HIV infection. They are primarily young people discharged by their families, subjected to homophobic violence in the existing shelter system and rejected by the broader community.  AFC’s mission is “to help LGBT&Q homeless youth survive, stay safe and become independent as they move from adolescence to adulthood.”  It provides shelter, social service referrals, HIV prevention, vocational training and youth leadership development opportunities.

With the cleanup of Times Square in the 1990s, the number of gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender youth killed while living on the streets in other neighborhoods increased.  One of those murdered was Ali Forney, a homeless transgendered youth and peer educator whose murderer was never found.  In his memory, the Ali Forney Center was launched in 2002 to provide shelter in apartments and homelike environments throughout the city for up to 90 days.  Staff members work with each youth to make school, job and future housing arrangements and provide training in self-advocacy skills.  The biggest challenge is to figure out where to go after the Center, and Mr. Siciliano is fundraising to expand services.

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