Bea Arthur LGBT homeless shelter set to open next year

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

An LGBT homeless shelter in honour of Golden Girls star Bea Arthur is set to open next year.

Bea Arthur, who died in 2009, left $300,000 in her will to the Ali Forney Center, which works to help LGBT homeless youths in New York.

Seven years on, and the charity is putting the finishing touches on a new 18-bed shelter, the Bea Arthur Residence.

Set to open in February 2017, the centre will open in an existing building at 222 E. 13th Street in Manhatta, funded thanks to the money left by Arthur.

Arthur often praised the charity in her later years, saying: “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 organisation really is saving lives.”

A spokesperson said: “We are excited by the progress to the Bea Arthur Residence, which looks like it should be ready to open in the spring of 2017. It will be a beautiful home for our young people.”

The Ali Forney Center’s Executive Director Carl Siciliano said previously: “We hope that we will forever be protected under Bea’s watchful eye.

“All our icons and gay history are an important part of our work.

“While we haven’t decided if cheesecake baking will be part of our life skills program, we will most certainly be serving cheesecake on our opening night.

“We will be applying for a formal proclamation from the Mayor’s Office proclaiming [the day we open] Bea Arthur Day!”

LGBT people are disproportionately likely to experience homelessness and problems securing housing, especially as young people.

40% of homeless youths identify as LGBT.