Actors have long suffered the continuously rising rents in New York City for decades. It’s one of the most expensive places in the world to live, but it’s one of the centers of our industry. You want to be where the work is, but watching rent prices increase over 250 percent and seeing companies like Amazon coming in to drop their most recent headquarters on us bringing in thousands of workers into Long Island City concerns many that rent prices will rise even further.
While NYC has had affordable housing plans in place like forcing new construction to dedicate a small percentage of their units as low cost housing, any actor that wanted to apply would be competing against the many, many other eligible residents (Uber drivers, Freelancers, Waiters, Cooks, Doormen, you name it) who were also looking for some relief from oppressive housing costs. And actors are certainly eligible considering Actors Equity stated in their 2015-2016 annual report that almost 70% of their members “earned $15,000 or less [annually].”
However, there have been organizations looking to improve actors’ opportunities. If you don’t know about The Actors Fund you must check it out. Aside from the great services the provide like emergency financial assistance, healthcare and insurance counseling, and secondary career development, they have also been working hard for years trying to get affordable housing in place for actors. With a new partnership with the Clinton Housing Development Company, it looks like a lot of that hard work has paid off.
Soon there will be 102 apartments in a tenement at 504 W. 53 St Apartments with many of the units specifically looking to be filled with actors, stage managers, dancers and others working in the entertainment industry. This partnership is led by Daniel Arnow of the Actors Fund Affordable Housing Initiative who told Backstage, “While the Actors Fund has a portfolio of our own properties, we continue to work with the development community on marketing and development projects with the goal of increasing access to affordable housing opportunities for our constituents.”
If you’re looking to apply before the December 7th deadline, then here are the steps you must complete:
Create a profile through New York City Housing Connect
Submit a bid for a unit in the 504 W. 53 St. Apartments.
A lottery is used to choose applications.
If chosen, lottery winners are interviewed and placed into a rental bracket.