EAST VILLAGE — A housing facility for homeless LGBT youth named for "Golden Girls" star Bea Arthur will open its doors this summer, according to the organization behind the project.
The Bea Arthur Residence at 222 E. 13th St., named in honor of the actress whose donation helped fund the endeavor, is undergoing renovations expected to wrap up in June or July, said executive director Carl Siciliano of the Ali Forney Center. The 18-bed home will begin taking in homeless youth shortly after, he said.
There are currently more than 200 young people on a waiting list for the housing.
The residence will provide on-site counseling and case management for gay and transgender youth, as well as help securing employment with the goal of eventual financial independence.
"What we really focus on with our program is helping them get jobs," said Siciliano.
"What we ask is they put a portion of their income in bank accounts so when they leave the program they have several thousand dollars saved up...a lot of what happens in the program is preparing people ot live independently, on their own."
At the same time, the center is raising funds for the home's operating costs. Money raised through the Bea Arthur Fund will go towards operating costs for the home not covered by federal, state and city funds, explained Siciliano — but it will also help the center acquire more sites to house gay and transgender youth in need of housing.
The campaign so far has raised nearly $81,000 towards the eventual goal of $1 million.
The home's opening date has been delayed a few times due to snags in construction on the long-derelict building. Initially slated to open last summer, the opening date was most recently moved to February of this year.