Looking for Affordable Housing? The Actors Fund Can Help.

by Rebecca Sauer

in New Models

Finding safe and affordable housing as a professional in the entertainment industry can be a real challenge. As a theatre artist, you are often booking gigs out of town and looking for someone to sublet to be able to afford to take the job. And many people working in theatre are located in expensive urban hubs like New York City, Chicago, Seattle, Washington, D.C. and others.

 I work as Project Analyst for The Actors Fund Housing Development Corporation, and I’m happy to let our community know about the valuable resources offered by The Actors Fund. If you are you looking for affordable housing or concerned about its availability, here are some things The Actors Fund is doing to help. One of these resources might be right for you or someone you know, so please do spread the word!

Actors Fund Housing Development Corporation (AFHDC)
The AFHDC, a subsidiary of The Actors Fund launched in 2009, is working to develop more affordable, supportive and senior housing for the performing arts community.

Looking to the future, AFHDC is conducting a survey (through today—Friday, September 14, 2012) of the visual and performing arts community in the New York City/New Jersey region to help gather information for the development of affordable artists’ rental housing in Rahway, NJ. There is still one day left to take this 10-minute survey online at www.rahwayartisthousingsurvey.org.

As of September 12, 1,015 people have taken the survey. The results will help The Actors Fund determine the feasibility of an affordable housing project for artists and creative professionals in Rahway, NJ. With the input we receive, we will take the next steps in the project’s development, including: determining the size of the project and what types of amenities to include as well as making critical design decisions. To learn more about the vibrant arts community in Rahway and see clips from an event we held there to kick off this survey initiative, please visit The Actors Fund blog: http://actorsfund.wordpress.com/2012/08/23/take-our-rahway-artist-housing-survey/.

A deeper analysis of the survey results will be conducted over the course of the fall and a final report will be issued before the end of 2012.  The Fund will make the report available at www.actorsfund.org and use other channels, like the TCG’s Conference 2.0, to ensure it is distributed widely. We want all interested parties to have an opportunity to participate in a dialogue about the significance of the survey results.

In Los Angeles, AFHDC has joined forces with Artspace to develop 100 units of affordable housing downtown for the arts and entertainment community. The proposed “Broadway Arts Center” would offer affordable artists’ housing, performance and exhibition space, and support for the street’s historic theatres. This project has attracted foundation support including a grant from MusiCares and is part of the LA Department of Cultural Affairs initiative to support the development of the Broadway Cultural Quarter. You can download the preliminary reports about the project at www.actorsfund.org/AFHDC.

Housing Seminars

The Actors Fund also offers “Finding Affordable Housing in NYC” seminars. You can learn if you are eligible and how to apply for the City’s many affordable and middle income residences.

Hear about some of the best opportunities becoming available in the next year such as Gotham West, a 1,238 unit residence in Hell’s Kitchen, the backyard of Broadway, with 250 low income and 432 middle income units, set to open in 2013. This brand new development will occupy an entire city block and applications are available as of September 4, 2012. For applications, visit www.West45Lottery.com.

Most importantly, this seminar should help participants understand how best to position themselves by learning what landlords are looking for regarding credit scores, rental histories, earnings and tax returns.

Upcoming seminars are on September 17 from 5:30 – 7 pm, October 9 from 11 am – 12:30 pm, October 17 from 2:30 to 4 pm, November 5 from 5:30 pm – 7 pm and December 17 from 5:30 pm – 7 pm. Reservations are not necessary. You can just show up to The Actors Fund offices at 729 7th Avenue, 10th Floor. Also coming in January 2013 is the next “Home Buyer Readiness Seminar”, where you can learn all about how to prepare yourself for home ownership and take advantage of lucrative first-time home buyer programs.

Housing Resource Center

The Fund’s online Housing Resource Center provides information on affordable housing, roommate opportunities, temporary housing, tenants’ rights and housing court.

Housing Bulletin Board

The Fund also maintains an online Housing Bulletin Board that allows the entertainment community to post housing availabilities and search for places to live. For those looking to/for a sublet, a roommate, something temporary or permanent, check it out.

Actors Fund Buildings

The Actors Fund has two affordable housing facilities in New York City: The Dorothy Ross Friedman Residence in mid-town Manhattan (which houses The Fund’s Al Hirschfeld Free Health Clinic for anyone in the performing arts who is uninsured), and The Schermerhorn in the heart of Downtown Brooklyn (which includes a 2,000 sq. foot performing arts center).  Visit www.actorsfund.org/Housing to download an application. The Actors Fund also invested in the Palm View, in West Hollywood, California, a residence for members of the performing arts and entertainment community living with HIV/AIDS, and operates the Lillian Booth Actors Home, a skilled nursing and assisted living facility in Englewood, NJ.

If you are you looking for affordable housing, visit The Actors Fund. They can help prepare you to find it. For more information, visit www.actorsfund.org/Housing.

Rebecca Sauer has devoted her professional activities to the development of inclusive and prosperous urban communities. Rebecca brings to the Actors Fund Housing Development Corporation experience in community development and housing policy in Buenos Aires and New York City. While residing in Buenos Aires, Rebecca assisted Habitat for Humanity Argentina by preparing a brief on the history of and conditions in an informal settlement and analyzing the implementation of Habitat’s expanded programs there. Immediately prior to joining the AFHDC, Rebecca worked as the community development officer for operations at Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) New York City.