(EDGE) In early 2017, the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Ali Forney Center's Bea Arthur Residence in New York City's East Village will ensure that the beloved actress' legacy will live on long after re-runs of "The Golden Girls" vanish from the airwaves.
As reported last month, shortly after her death in 2009, the Ali Forney Center for at-risk LGBT youth learned that it was willed $300,000 from Arthur's estate. Long a friend to the charity, the beloved "Golden Girls" star had lent her talents in 2005 to perform for the then fledgling organization. According toUpworthy, that evening, Arthur helped raise over $40,000 for the charity.
"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," Arthur said in an article published prior to her passing.
According to NBC News, the gift from Arthur initially helped the Ali Forney Center make it through the tail-end of the recession, but the group's executive director Carl Siciliano had his eyes on ownership of the organization's first residential building. Fortunately, Steve Herrick, executive director of Cooper Square Committee shared Siciliano's vision, and knew of an East Village townhouse that would be perfect of the Ali Forney Center.
"[It] was a city-owned building that had been vacant for about two decades," Herrick told NBCOUT. "Given that it is a modest-size, four-story townhouse, I thought it would lend itself to a congregate living situation similar to what Ali Forney has done at other sites."
The building, located at 222 East 13th Street, was turned over to the Ali Forney Center by the New York City Department of Housing and Preservation Development.
"The funds for the gut renovation were provided by the New York City Council and the Manhattan Borough President," Siciliano said.
In February 2017, the Bea Arthur Residence will join 12 other residential sites operated by the Ali Forney Center that house a total of over 100 at-risk LGBT youth per night. In addition to providing beds, Ali Forney Center facilities offer a 24/7 drop-in center that offers a variety of vital services including medical and mental healthcare and educational and job training and placement.
According to Cyndi Lauper's True Colors Fund, of the close to 1.6 million youth who experience homelessness in the United States each year, approximately 40 percent are LGBT.