Friday, January 13, 2012

First 24 Hour Drop-In Center for Homeless LGBTQ Youth

via WindyCityTimes, via NEWS RELEASE

The Ali Forney Center, the nation's largest organization working on behalf of homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth, today announced that it has been awarded a two-year matching $500K Challenge Grant from the Calamus Foundation of New York.

This grant will make possible the launch of the nation's first 24-hour drop-in services center for homeless LGBT youth.

In 2012, the Calamus Foundation has pledged to match all donations made by new donors or increased donations made by existing donors dollar for dollar up to $250K.

In the second year, 2013, the foundation will award $1 for every $2 donated by new or increased donors up to $250K. The foundation will also match new corporate and other foundation revenue.

Said Carl Siciliano, Executive Director of the Ali Forney Center: "The Ali Forney Center is thrilled to kick off our 10th Anniversary year by opening a services center available to youth at any times of the day or night.

This facility will help address one of our major concerns, the growing number of homeless LGBT youth on the Center's waiting list who resort to sleeping on park benches and subway cars, and must engage in high-risk behavior to survive."

Continued Siciliano: "This summer, when our waiting list reached 200 names, I became increasingly concerned about the limited number of shelter beds and drop-in service hours available.

For many years we recognized the need for 24-hour services, but due to limited funding and to prioritizing funding shelter beds, we could never build this on our own.

Thanks to the generosity of the Calamus Foundation, we will be able to offer LGBT young people a reprieve from the streets through a supportive, safe, and nurturing environment.

In this way. the Ali Forney Center will continue to greatly impact the lives of LGBT youth living on the streets of New York City."

Said Louis Bradbury, Board President of the Calamus Foundation: "The plight of homeless LGBT youth has reached a crisis level. It is critical that our community address this issue.

The Board of the Calamus Foundation is very pleased to support the work of Ali Forney and this important project in particular that we hope will make an immediate and direct impact in the lives of LGBT youth who are all too often ignored and pushed to the margins of society.

We must also recognize that the problem is so vast that it requires governmental leadership as well as funding from our community. Private support cannot replace government funding: the need is too great.

However, by providing this challenge grant, we hope to increase awareness of the issues and to encourage other member of the community and foundations to become involved."

The new 24-hour services center will be available 7 days a week, and will offer homeless LGBT youth support and vital services through the client-centered service model that the Ali Forney Center is known for.

Services will include crisis and suicide intervention, appointments with medical and mental health professionals, and substance abuse counseling, as well as career and education counseling with the goal of helping youth reclaim their lives.

The drop-in center will also provide for basic needs such as food, water, access to showers, laundry and new clothing. The Ali Forney Center is currently in the planning phase of this project and is searching for a facility to house the new center. They hope to have the program operational by the 4th quarter of 2012.

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