Sandy Cruelly Wiped Out Ali Forney Center for Homeless Kids

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Without Drop-In Center, Kids Would Be on Street

Staff fed him, gave him emergency housing, provided him free medical care and, eventually, through their support services, offered him a paid internship.

"If I didn't have the drop-in center, I probably would be in Penn Station or at the library every day or sleeping on a park bench," said KC, now 21.

Staff helped him get his Social Security card for identification required for employment and signing up for school and proof of address for federal and state medical benefits.

He has spent the last nine months in one of the emergency housing facilities in Brooklyn with 14 others in the same room. Through an outreach program, KC got a paid internship handing out flyers, snacks and condoms to those on the street.

Now, KC has entered a transition program, the next level of housing that has educational and employment requirements. He will leave group living and have just one roommate.

"It is during a client's stay in transitional housing that he or she saves money, and solidifies the life skills they require to meet their long-term housing goals," said his counselor, Bethke.

KC works as a paid intern at Harlem United, an organization that helps people living with HIV AIDS and whose lives are complicated by addiction, mental illness and homelessness.

One day, he hopes to be a medical assistant or a security officer.

"I am looking for better employment and more stable housing," said KC. "I am happy. I have the support of AFC, free transportation with a weekly metro card. I feel great about everything."

The Ali Forney Center estimates it will have to raise $400,000 to replace what was lost in superstorm Sandy. A fundraiser will be held Sunday with celebrity hosts actress Ally Sheedy and photographer Mike Ruiz.

To donate, click here.

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