• The Bea Arthur Residence for LGBTQ+ youth has opened in New York City. (ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)
'Golden Girls' star Bea Arthur left hundreds of thousands of dollars in her will to a charity for the LGBTQI+ homeless - so they've opened a shelter in her name.
By
Chloe Sargeant

11 Dec 2017 - 4:04 PM  UPDATED 11 Dec 2017 - 4:04 PM

A shelter for LGBTQI+ homeless people has been named in honour of Golden Girls star Bea Arthur. 

The new 18-bed residence for LGBTQI+ people who are homeless is located in New York City, and was was opened by the Ali Forney Center, a LGBTQI+ homeless charity which Arthur vocally supported in her later life. 

The Bea Arthur Residence opened on the 30th of November at 222 E. 13th Street in Manhattan, funded by money left by Arthur after her death in 2009. She left the Ali Forney Center USD $300,000 in her will.

"These kids at the Ali Forney Center are literally dumped by their families because of the fact that they are lesbian, gay or transgender," the actor once said. "This organisation really is saving lives."

The executive director for the Ali Forney Center, Carl Siciliano, said at the announcement of the centre in 2015, “I am very grateful that we will now be able to honor Bea and continue to keep her compassion alive".

Each floor contains individual apartments, with a kitchen and living room. There's also a private garden, a library named after Ally Sheedy, private counselling rooms, and a group space on the ground floor. 

The building will also feature a wall that recognises prominent LGBTQI+ figures, including Keith Haring, Michael Callen, Audrey Lorde, and Silvia Riviera. It will also include memorabilia from Arthur's estate, in memory of the revered actress. 

“One of Bea’s sons will be sending some of her dresses and other personal affects for us to have on display,” Siciliano told NewNowNext in 2015. “And we will be applying for a formal proclamation from the Mayor’s Office proclaiming [the day we open] Bea Arthur Day!”

The LGBTQI+ community disproportionately experiences homelessness, and a 2012 report from the Williams Institute at UCLA states that 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQI+.

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