BY Michelle Garcia
November 18 2009 5:15 PM ET
A converted church in Queens, N.Y., may look like a pleasant youth hostel, but many of its residents made a tough journey to find this new place to call home.
The Ali Forney Center, New York City's top service organization for homeless youth, found a partner in the local Episcopal diocese, which also took interest in the hardships that many LGBT homeless youths face. The partnership resulted in a $200,000 renovation of St. Andrew's Church in the Astoria neighborhood of Queens, where 16 young people can now sleep soundly.
Carl Siciliano, executive director of the center, says he's grateful for the church's philanthropic outreach.
"So many of these young people are rejected by their families because of religion," he says. "Kids come in who have been put through exorcisms, and we've had kids whose parents make them go see priests who tell them they're evil and hateful and that they're going to hell. It's a really upsetting and unfortunate situation that so many young people are put through this kind of trauma by their parents' religious beliefs, so it's very moving to see a religious organization that's able to say that these youth should be affirmed and cared for, so I'm very grateful to the Episcopal diocese of Long Island for their support."
Housing that addresses the specific needs of homeless gay young adults is crucial to their survival, Siciliano says, because they're "actively affirming that the kids are gay, not just tolerating it." When gay young adults and teenagers are left to live on the street or go to a shelter, Siciliano said, they would probably not choose a 200-bed shelter or, even worse, one where everyone has to sleep on a concrete floor.
- An Exodus From the 'Ex-Gay' Movement?
- Filipino Archbishop Says Gay Men and Lesbians Can Marry — Each Other
- Op-ed: How Animated Shows Like Futurama Can Unite Us All
- Advocate.com | Gay News | The Advocate | The World's Leading Source for LGBT News and Entertainment
- Martina Navratilova Blasts Russian Antigay Law
- President Obama Adresses LGBT Rights in Berlin Speech
Sign Up For Email Updates
- Religion An Exodus From the 'Ex-Gay' Movement? 12:50 AM
- Entertainment News A Moment For James Gandolfini June 19 2013 11:38 PM
- Entertainment News Muscle Worship: Meet the Men of L.A.'s New Gay Strip Club June 19 2013 9:45 PM
- Religion Filipino Archbishop Says Gay Men and Lesbians Can Marry — Each Other June 19 2013 7:56 PM
- Travel Drag Racing in Jerusalem June 19 2013 7:20 PM
- Crime Police Seek Suspects Who Vandalized Chick-fil-A With Antigay Slurs June 19 2013 7:18 PM
- Women Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King Among First Inductees to Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame June 19 2013 6:51 PM