With the news that one in four gay teens are homeless, it might be a
small comfort that the Ali Forney Center raised a record amount to
fight the problem earlier this week.
The center, which was founded in 2002 in New York City, held its summer fund-raiser and brought in $117,000, which is a record for the agency. But it's going to take a lot more if new research about the magnitude of the problem is correct.
A study released Thursday found that less than 5% of the more than 6,000 high school students surveyed in Massachusetts identified themselves as gay, lesbian, or bisexual. But those students accounted for 19% of the homeless. Among straight students, 3.2% were homeless.
Carl Siciliano, founder and executive director of the Ali Forney Center, said homeless teens are in dire need of help.
"LGBT teens all across the country are being thrown out of their homes and deprived of family support in epidemic numbers," he said. "This phenomenon of teens experiencing family rejection and forced into homelessness is the most brutal and cruel expression of homophobia in our times."
Homeless youth at the Ali Forney Center are provided with basics such as a place to live, showers, and food, but also the center offers medical care, HIV testing, and job training and placement at its centers in Chelsea and Brooklyn. Siciliano notes, "We serve youths from all over the country," with 60% of clients from states other than New York.
See some of those who showed up to support the center in photos from the summer fund-raiser to follow.