The Actors Fund offers something for everyone
The office of the Musicians’ Assistance Program is your one-stop shop for musicians’ health. We offer counseling – both one-on-one and in groups – as well as information on all kinds of social services, including health insurance, housing, food stamps and more. All services are free to Local 802 members. Contact us at MAP@Local802afm.org or (212) 397-4802
As the lazy, hazy days of summer come to an end and everyone starts to gear up for fall, the stress that is more easily ignored with bright sun and warm weather can start to creep in. Financial restraints, health concerns and other personal pressures can cause unwanted tension. If this is your experience, you should know about the Actors Fund.
Maybe you’re thinking “I’m not an actor. I’m a musician.” The Actors Fund is a national social services agency and their programs are open to everyone in the entertainment industry. Musicians, opera singers, dancers, stagehands, ushers – everyone in entertainment – are all eligible for assistance.
While many of the entertainment unions have some relationship with the Actors Fund, Local 802 is unique in that it is the only union to have its own members’ assistance program.
About 20 years ago, the union partnered with the Actors Fund to provide services on site here at Local 802, dedicated exclusively to our membership.
In addition to services offered through the MAP office, members also can take advantage of everything the Actors Fund offers.
Actors Fund services are divided into four general areas of focus and within each division are more specific supports. They are social services, work, housing and health care.
The social services department provides individual case management as well as groups and seminars for people who are in need, crisis or transition. Social services can make a referral to a good therapist, help with a substance abuse problem, or offer support and guidance in a health crisis. In some cases, we can also offer financial assistance. For Local 802 members, the staff in the MAP office provides the individual case management, plus we process all of the applications for the Emergency Relief Fund.
The Actors Fund works in many ways to help entertainment professionals find and secure housing.
The Dorothy Ross Friedman Residence (formerly the Aurora) at 475 West 57th Street offers affordable, supportive housing to low income professionals and seniors as well as persons living with HIV/AIDS.
The Schermerhorn in downtown Brooklyn also provides housing for low income professionals in entertainment as well as formerly homeless individuals with HIV/AIDS or mental health needs. Rent at the Schermerhorn is as low as $635 a month, and Local 802 members are eligible to apply. See bit.ly/GreatHousing for more details.
The Lillian Booth Actors Home in Englewood, New Jersey provides assisted living and skilled nursing care to senior members of the entertainment community
To learn about all of these resources, come to one of our free housing seminars: Sept. 4 (2:30 to 4 p.m.), Sept. 17 (5:30 to 7:30 p.m.), Oct. 9 (11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.), Oct. 17 (2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.) and Nov. 5 (5:30 to 7:30 p.m.). Reservations not necessary: just show up to the Actors Fund offices at 729 Seventh Avenue, 10th Floor. For more information, contact Kristen Borg at (917) 281-5919 or Kborg@ActorsFund.org
Employment and training
Most entertainment professionals are employed on a freelance basis and are, therefore, constantly on the lookout for the next job. With intense competition and an exceptionally high unemployment rate, entertainment industry professionals often need to have parallel careers. The Actors Fund Work Program will help you to find meaningful work to supplement your work as a musician so that your financial well being does not suffer. After attending just one orientation meeting, all of the groups, individual career counseling services, volunteer opportunities and trainings are available to you. Find out about how to most effectively consider alternative work opportunities, write your resume, search for a job and interview.
Healthcare and health insurance
The Al Hirschfeld Free Health Clinic not only provides excellent general care for people who are uninsured or underinsured, but also provides access to affordable testing and specialist services for its clients. Additionally, the Artists Health Insurance Resource Center (www.ahirc.org) hosts an online database that can link you to the most up-to-date health care and insurance information all over the country. Their weekly seminar “Getting and Keeping Health Insurance” reviews local medical resources as well as health insurance options.