Ali Forney Center leases townhouse to help house homeless trans youth

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- A large property in Upper Manhattan is now about to become the next center to help homeless transgender youth.

The Ali Forney Center is leasing the new property that will house teens who have been rejected by their families to provide support and help.

The stunning 5,500-square-foot townhouse in Hamilton Heights is about to become the newest home for young struggling transgender individuals.

"We are overwhelmed by how beautiful it is and how much space it has for our young people to access care," said Alexander Roque, President and Executive Director of the Ali Forney Center. "This is a place where they deserve to live."

Roque and Stacey Lewis are with the Ali Forney Center, which helps homeless LGBTQ+ youth get a second chance.

"Our young people are coming from a place of trauma whether it's them fleeing their home, evicted, rejected by their families," Lewis said.

This will be one of 18 locations where they can get the loving support they need for up to two years.

"They are going to work with an entire team of a case manager, mental health specialists, a health counselor," Lewis said.

The multi-level, 5-bedroom house, even with a rooftop terrace is being brought up to code.

"We can probably accommodate three to four young people, bunk-bed, dorm college style, there's a bathroom right off this room, so this will be a private, safe space for them," Lewis said.

Compared to other centers, what this house is going to provide for the struggling youngsters is a community and space where they could have birthday parties, movie nights, pizza night, anything to make them feel at home.

"It means safety, a place to relax, a place to dream," Lewis said.

And a dream it is. The center staff got word that "Pose," the TV show created to broaden opportunities for LGBTQ+ youth; they wanted to donate their production furniture.



"To have a piece of that means so much to our young people seeing themselves on TV and for us to have that is amazing," Lewis said.

It is an extra boost for these kids who are looking for a community, safety, and just genuine love.

"It's not a house, it's a home," Roque said. "Our pride and our fight is to be able to instill pride in our young people."

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