How cool is this?! Thanks to Golden Girls star Bea Arthur (Dorothy on the show), homeless LGBT New Yorkers will have a warm place to stay this winter. The Bea Arthur Residence is an 18-bed shelter that will serve LGBT youth in New York City’s East Village. It’s scheduled to open by February 2017. The shelter is named after the late actress who passed away in 2009, whose donation made its opening possible. In addition to beds, the Bea Arthur Residence will also provide counseling, and case management services to the city’s LGBT youth in crisis, DNA Info reports. Arthur was a longtime supporter of the Ali Forney Center, the nonprofit helping to open the new shelter, bequeathing $300,000 to the center after her death in 2009.
“These kids at the Ali Forney Center are literally dumped by their families because of the fact that they are lesbian, gay or transgender — this organization really is saving lives,” the actress told New York Magazine back in 2005. “Now between our 12 housing sites and 24/7 drop-in center we are able to provide for over 1,000 youths per year,” Carl Siciliano, the Executive Director of the Ali Forney Center, wrote about Arthur’s legacy in an article in the Huffington Post. “I honestly don’t know how we would have made it through the recession without that extraordinary gift. Bea Arthur truly meant it when she said she would do anything to help our kids.”
The new shelter helps alleviate a public health crisis in NYC. Nearly 4,000 homeless teenagers live on the NYC streets, and according to a 2008 Census survey, up to 40% are LGBTQ. Click here to learn more about the Bea Arthur Residence.