Actors and activists joined together Sunday to raise money for the Ali Forney Center, a drop-in center for homeless LGBT youth in NYC, which was wiped out by Hurricane Sandy. The fundraiser was hosted by actress Ally Sheedy of “Breakfast Club” fame and photographer Mike Ruiz.
Founded in June 2002 by Carl Siciliano, the center provides food, temporary shelter, case management, primary medical care, and HIV testing, among other services.
After surveying the damage, Siciliano released a statement detailing the destruction.
"This facility provided care to the most vulnerable youth served by AFC, those stranded out on the streets awaiting shelter. Having our drop-in center destroyed means it is likely that we are among the hardest-hit of all LGBTQ organizations in the city. While our new 24-hour drop-in center will open as planned in a different location, it will not be ready for full service for several months. We are pursuing every means possible to take care of our youth in the interim, and it is my hope that our community and city will rally behind us as we prepare to face one of the greatest challenges in AFC's history."
Sheedy, who is an AFC board member, told msnbc’s Thomas Roberts that the “unique” center is “the only one like that in the entire nation and it is completely destroyed.”
According to the center’s website after Hurricane Sandy hit the NYC area, “everything was destroyed and the space is inhabitable."
“The water level went four feet high, destroying our phones, computers, refrigerator, food and supplies,” the site said.
Sheedy calls the Ali Forney Center, “a place for kids who are living wherever they can, to come and have safety and have people to help them and give them some services to start to structure a life.” The actress said the center tailored their services specifically for the LGBT youth.
“They can’t just go to a shelter to get the kind of help that they actually need to have,” she said. Since the shelter is damaged, “it’s very hard for the center to keep track of where they are, especially the ones that really need help. And there’s some that need medications and there’s some that really need some mental health counseling “
Supporters hope to raise about $400,000 and that money will go to a new 24 hour site in Harlem, New York.
To learn more about how you can donate, please visit the Ali Forney Center website.