Ali Forney Center thrives one year after Superstorm Sandy

The Ali Forney Center, an LGBT homeless youth organization in New York, will not be stopped in their efforts to end LGBT youth homelessness. Not even superstorm Sandy was able to stop them. It was a year ago that the storm completely destroyed Ali Forney's drop-in center which is located on 22nd street, less than a block from the Hudson river. Carl Siciliano, Ali Forney Center founder, was not expecting what would follow the devastation to the center's facility.

Four feet of water had overwhelmed the facility. The floors had buckled and the electrical outlets were full of saltwater that came over from Chelsea Piers, roughly 1,300 feet from the center. The medical supplies were compromised and food was rotting in the floodwater. Desks were submerged and records and files were left unreadable. The devastation left the center uninhabitable, forcing Siciliano and his staff to scramble to find refuge for the 30 to 40 homeless LGBT youths the center usually saw on a daily basis.

"It didn’t occur to us that our space would be inundated with four feet of water and that the storm would destroy the building," Siciliano says. "We weren’t really planning for that."

What also wasn’t planned was the response that followed, one that would turn the Ali Forney Center into one of the feel-good stories to come out of the Sandy relief effort – and help reignite the larger conversation around homeless LGBT youth in New York.

Al Jazeera America has the complete story.

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GLAAD Southern Stories will elevate the experiences of LGBT people in six of the nation's southern states. The initiative amplifies stories of LGBT people thriving in the South, ongoing discrimination, as well as the everyday indignities endured by LGBT people who simply wish to live the lives they love, including stories of family, stories of faith, stories of sports, and stories of patriotism