The Ali Forney Center (AFC), the nation’s largest agency dedicated to homeless LGBTQ youths, held the naming ceremony of the now completed Bea Arthur Residence in New York’s Lower East Side. A nearby reception was sponsored by Kiehl’s and attended by Arthur’s son Matthew Saks, local government officials, the principal architects and designers of the space, and scores of supporters.
The office of New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio declared November 30th “Bea Arthur Day,” and the Mayor said of the project, “My administration is committed to supporting New York’s thriving and diverse LGBTQ community. Critical to this mission are community organizations like the Ali Forney Center that are working to uplift and empower homeless LGBTQ youth across our city. Named in honor of actress Bea Arthur who was a tireless advocate for homeless LGBTQ youth, AFC’s Bea Arthur Residence will offer safe and welcoming housing options, counseling, and employment assistance for young people in need. I am proud to join in applauding this organization’s incredible legacy of building a strong foundation for the next generation as we renew our commitment to protect and lift up our city’s LGBTQ youth.”
This Bea Arthur Residence will house 18 homeless LGBTQ young people, and it was inspired by a sizeable donation from the late actress Bea Arthur. She was a fierce and vocal advocate for homeless LGBTQ youth, famously stating “The Ali Forney Center is saving lives. I would do anything in my power to protect children who are discarded by their parents for being LGBT.” Before her death in 2009, she revived her one-woman Broadway show for one night as a benefit for the homeless young people of the Ali Forney Center.