The Ali Forney Center officially named its new LGBT youth homeless residence the Bea Arthur Residence in a naming ceremony in honor of the late actress.
Local government officials, architects, supporters and Arthur’s son Matthew Saks celebrated the completion of the 18-bed residence facility located in the Lower East Side of New York City on Nov. 30. The project broke ground in July 2015.
Youth living in the residence will participate in the Ali Forney Center’s FC’s Transitional Living Program, a 24-month program designed to transition homeless LGBT youth to living alone.
“We are proud to dedicate this residence in her honor, and humbled to celebrate this momentous occasion alongside Bea Arthur’s son and grandson,” Carl Siciliano, Executive Director of the Ali Forney Center said in a statement. “The Bea Arthur Residence marks an important shift in the way that we are able to house and care for young people who have been discarded by their families simply because of who they are. Pending city approvals, we hope to begin housing young people here within the next few weeks.”
Arthur, who died in 2009, was an avid supporter of the Ali Forney Center. In her will, she donated $300,000 to the LGBT community center.
Nov. 30 was also declared “Bea Arthur Day” by New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio.
“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,” DeBlasio said in a statement.