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'Bea Arthur' LGBT Homeless Shelter Slated for Completion in Feb. 2017

By Allegra Hobbs | August 23, 2016 6:03pm
 A rendering of the Bea Arthur Residence, which is scheduled to open in February 2017.
A rendering of the Bea Arthur Residence, which is scheduled to open in February 2017.
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Ali Forney Center

EAST VILLAGE — An upcoming homeless shelter serving LGBT youth — The Bea Arthur Residence — is slated for completion in the coming winter, according to one of the neighborhood organizations behind the endeavor.

The home, named for the “Golden Girls” star whose generous donation made the project possible, is expected to open shortly after construction is completed in February of next year, said the director of a housing preservation group working to renovate the structure. 

“It’s really accelerating,” said Steve Herrick of the Cooper Square Committee, which has partnered with the Ali Forney Center, a nonprofit that works with LGBT homeless youth, to open the 18-bed shelter at 222 E. 13th St. “The building is about 40 percent complete right now.”

Though the shelter was initially scheduled to open this summer, construction on the long-derelict building — being gut-renovated by Builders-R-Us Construction Corp. — had hit a few snags after breaking ground in July of last year, explained Herrick.

There were a few Department of Building violations stacked against the run-down site from the start, he said, which records show have all been resolved.

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Though the holdups placed the renovation work several months behind schedule, said Herrick, the project is now well on its way to becoming a shelter that will provide beds, on-site counseling, and case management to the city’s homeless gay and transgender youth. 

The $3.3 million city-funded project bears the name of the Broadway and television actress who was also among the Ali Forney Center’s greatest supporters and cheerleaders.

Bea Arthur, who had put on a benefit show for the then-struggling nonprofit in 2005, bequeathed $300,000 to the center upon her death in 2009.