Ali Forney Center Director Slams Cuomo for Cuts to Budget Aiding LGBT Homeless Youth

Following news that the $4.7 million in state money that funds emergency homeless youth beds would be cut, Carl Siciliano, the executive director of NYC's largest LGBT youth shelter, the Ali Forney Center, pleads with Governor Andrew Cuomo to restore the funds or explain the cuts.

Siciliano writes, in part: Siciliano

In New York City, there are 3,800 youth who go without shelter every night, over 1,000 of whom are LGBT. Fewer than 300 shelter beds currently exist for these kids, and every night, thousands are forced to fend for themselves on the streets.

Mr. Governor, I invite you to stop into one of our youth shelters. Maybe you can explain to our kids why they should be turned out of their beds and put in the street so you can give tax breaks to millionaires, to paraphrase your own father in his address at the 1984 Democratic Convention.

Maybe you could explain how they are supposed to survive alone on the streets at night. I don’t have an answer for them, and their pain and confusion are palpable.

Most of our clients are the most vulnerable LGBT youth in the community, rejected and abused by parents who cannot accept having gay children, discarded and thrown out of their homes simply for being LGBT.

It is inexplicable how you –– a longtime ally to the gay community and champion of civil rights for LGBT adults, who has repeatedly made a commitment to marriage equality in New York –– can have so little concern for the safety and welfare of these young people.

New York City recently restored budget funding it had cut for LGBT youth shelters after advocates expressed outrage.


  1. hank says

    The goal of this organization is certainly laudible and should be supported, but I would be interested to see some sort of proof backing up these claims of 1,000 homeless gay kids nightly in New York.

  2. Rowan says

    Oh Hank, I don’t deny that number and that’s the ones they know of. What about the ones that disappear underground in the tunnels? Or who are not accounted for?

    No, my issue is with another non for profit organization doing things at the last minute. He would’ve known they were making cuts ages ago, it has to go public and usually forms a pattern of what a local govt does, so why is this so last minute? Or such a shock?

    And why not tap into all those rich new York gays, as well as famous and get them to donate?

    Why haven’t they developed a business plan that doesnt rely on public funds but also is able to financially survive through private sector?

    It’s so frustrating because the only people who are going to suffer are the kids because of short term thinking by management. Again.

  3. greg says

    Wow, first someone with no familiarity with the subject doubts statements made by someone very familiar with the situation, and then someone chastises the people who run this program for not going after all that free, easy, non-state money that’s going unclaimed and it’s their own damn fault because they didn’t.

    I thing there are two potential, even probably, viewers of fox news here!

  4. donald says

    Oh Rowan…a simple click on the link at the bottom of the story would have shown you that they have been wrestling with restoring these budget cuts since November of last year when they were announced by then Mayor Bloomberg. Then again, that would have required you to have taken initiative and research on your part rather than taking a cheap shot at someone who cares about GLBTQ youth.
    Carl has worked tirelessly for this program to help the youth and has tried numerous times to engage and solicit NYC wealthy through fund raising, special events, and matching programs. My guess is the NYC wealthy are suffering the same as we are in this “horrible” recession and have drawn the purse strings tight rather than give up their nights at the opera and dinners at Per Se. *eyeroll*
    I just wish I could win the lottery to donate it to organizations that deserve it.

  5. ratbastard says


    I’m afraid non-profits and other ‘advocates’ often play both ends. No question, ‘dire’ situations plays into this. The end justifies the means and all that. Unfortunately, those who are ostensibly being helped suffer.

    The wealthy are doing just fine, better than ever. Inexcusable such a well off society can’t provide adequate, consistent assistance for those in need, and at the very least a safe, clean place + food for the homeless who’re reasonably sane and sober. I understand dealing with the mentally ill and substance abusers is a different story, and more complicated.

  6. Liam says

    Last night while you were home in your bed…

    Over 3,800 young people were homeless in New York City;

    1,600 of those young people spent the night outside, in an abandoned building, at a transportation site or in a car, bus, train or some other vehicle;

    150 of our children spent the night with a sex work client.

    Instead of questioning the heros on the front line, you should be joining the fight to protect these kids.

  7. says

    For the record, there is very strong social science research about the numbers of homeless and runaway LGBT kids on the street (which, again, you can easily find if you simply click through to the linked article). I’ve reported on this issue and fact checked Carl’s numbers, and if anything he’s underestimating the problem (he’s using the low end of the estimates). As the award-winning Gay City News reports, “A 2007 survey completed by the Empire State Coalition found that roughly 3,800 youths are living on the streets on a given night in New York City, with one-third or more of them LGBTQ-identified. That figure may well have climbed given the economic reversals that intervened since then.”

    Furthermore, as others have pointed out, Carl Siciliano is one of the best nonprofit managers in NYC, and has done amazing, creative work as a fundraiser and manager. The Ali Forney Center (which was entirely his vision) simply could not survive solely on private funding, despite his unprecedented fundraising success. Nor should it. Every LGBT person in NY should be outraged that the City and State so underserve homeless gay kids that they rely on an underfunded private organization to fill in the gaps. There was a New York City special commision that last year analyzed the scope of the problem and recommended much more attention and resources devoted to this population. And then Cuomo cut the funding in half.

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