A new shelter for homeless LGBTI youth has just opened in New York, thanks to late Golden Girls star Bea Arthur.

The gay icon, who passed away in 2009, bequeathed $300,000 to the Ali Forney Center, Pink News has reported.

Arthur had been a great supporter of the charity, 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.”

The new 18-bed shelter in Manhattan is called the Bea Arthur Residence.

“We are proud to dedicate this residence in her honour, and humbled to celebrate this momentous occasion alongside Bea Arthur’s son and grandson,” said Carl Siciliano, executive director of the Ali Forney Center, at the official opening.

“The Bea Arthur Residence marks an important shift in the way that we are able to house and care for young people who have been discarded by their families simply because of who they are. Pending city approvals, we hope to begin housing young people here within the next few weeks.”

Homelessness is a disproportionately serious problem for the LGBTI community.

Australian research published earlier this year revealed gay men and lesbians are three times as likely as their heterosexual counterparts to experience homelessness, with bisexual and trans people at even higher risk.

Family rejection and mental health risk factors contribute to the high rates of homelessness among LGBTI people.

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