by Stephen Garner

New York-based genderless streetwear brand Private Policy is launching support for the Ali Forney Center’s (AFC) #LoveAli campaign in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic. AFC is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive services and shelter provider for homeless LGBTQ youth.

To support this cause, Private Policy has designed an exclusive, U.S.-made, t-shirt with all proceeds going to AFC. The shirts will be pre-sold to expedite monies that will be made toward the organization and the New York-based t-shirt manufacturing company.

The brand is also joining in raising funds for AFC with long-time Center supporter Billy Porter (of FX’s Pose), Tan France (of Netflix’s Queer Eye), Bowen Yang (of NBC’s Saturday Night Live), and artist and activist Chella Man. The supporters will each sign a shirt to be mailed at random to those who donated/purchased a t-shirt. With production scheduled, the t-shirts are slated to be sent out in mid-May.

As businesses make the difficult decisions to close operations, AFC must keep its doors open. AFC cannot turn its back on the homeless LGBTQ youth in need. The Harlem drop-in center and borough shelters are their homes, providing needed shelter and health services. The Center is the largest homeless shelter specifically for LGBTQ youth in New York City and houses 1,400 youth annually. AFC anticipates those numbers to increase given the COVID-19 situation in New York.

In such a time of fear, AFC is standing firm and keeping its doors open. They are taking every step possible to protect their youth and staff to limit exposure by suspending outside groups and volunteers from visiting its Harlem drop-in center and shelter sites. AFC is reorganizing its programs so those staying at the Center do not need to travel between sites for services and establish quarantine zones in all of the sites for those who have been exposed first hand to COVID-19, or become sick.

“Raising awareness for social issues and causes in need is part of our brand’s DNA,” said Siying Qu and Haoran Li, designers of Private Policy. “With the increasing number of people losing work, homelessness is on the rise and we knew that we needed to do something. We want to assist the Ali Forney Center in raising money to help keep their services going for the LGBTQ youth during a time they need the most!”

“In spite of the uncertainty, the increasing disruptions to our daily lives, and the many concerns we each carry, almost all of our programs at AFC have been running uninterrupted,” added Alex Roque, executive director of the Ali Forney Center. “This is a testament to the commitment of our staff who is rising up to the increased challenges of our work, as well as to the community who has so generously provided the means for us to stay open. We are deeply grateful to Private Policy for leveraging their brand to support the Ali Forney Center’s young people during this difficult and uncertain time.”

The Private Policy x AFC #LOVEALI t-shirts will be available in three sizes (XS/M/XL) and retail for $80. The shirts are currently available for purchase on both a GoFundMe site and on Private Policy’s website.