Thursday, December 4, 2008
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Homeless gay youth center funding restored

NEW YORK, NY — The Ali Forney Center announced the restoration of critical funding to operate its drop-in center for homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth in New York City.  It is the only full-time drop-in center of its kind in New York City.

To date, this drop-in center has been funded solely by a Federal Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) grant, which is at the discretion of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and is one of five contracts that the NYC Department of Health and Mental Health  (DOHMH) categorized as Outreach Contracts.  AFC learned in September that the five Outreach contracts were to be discontinued by the department in July 2009.  The loss of this funding greatly jeopardized the ongoing survival of this drop-in center, the closure of which would have stranded hundreds of youths in crisis on the streets without greatly needed services.

The NYC Ryan White Planning Council—a body of AIDS service providers, consumers and government officials that allocates Ryan White CARE Act federal dollars for people with AIDS—became aware of this crisis and recently voted unanimously to use unspent Ryan White monies to continue funding the Ali Forney Center’s outreach contract, as well as the other four HOPWA Outreach contracts, in full through February 2010, at which time AFC will be eligible to apply for ongoing Ryan White funds.

Carl Siciliano, Executive Director of the Ali Forney Center, said, “I am very grateful for the outpouring of concern we received from our elected officials, community members and the Ryan White Planning Council. I am truly proud that so many in the LGBT community took a stand to protect our most needy and vulnerable youth, and in so doing, averted a tragedy. It is a tremendous relief to know that our drop-in center will continue to protect LGBT youths from the dangers and terrors of the streets.”