Welcome to the Actors Fund

Yes - it's for musicians, too!

Volume 116, No. 5May, 2016

Tamar Shapiro, LCSW
Tamar Shapiro, LCSW

Tamar Shapiro, LCSW

The Actors Fund is your one-stop shop for almost any kind of service you can imagine. We offer counseling – both one-on-one and in groups – as well as information on all kinds of social services, including health insurance, housing, substance abuse, financial counseling, food stamps and more. The Actors Fund is open to musicians, actors and all entertainment professionals. All services are free to Local 802 members. Contact us at (212) 221-7300, ext. 119 or or see

As you know by now, Local 802’s Musicians’ Assistance Program experienced a bit of a transition over the last six months. In December, Siena Shundi, Local 802’s in-house social worker, decided to leave so she could focus on being a full-time mom. Her departure happened to coincide with discussions between Local 802 and the Actors Fund on how best to provide the highest quality of services to musicians, given some of the financial challenges faced by the Musicians’ Emergency Relief Fund, which funded MAP.

You may not be aware that the Actors Fund has had a long and productive partnership with Local 802. While the Actors Fund has always provided services to musicians, we formalized our relationship with Local 802 in 1994. This was when we first began managing your Musicians’ Assistance Program. Since that time, the Actors Fund has been responsible for hiring and supervising the social workers who you have all come to know through this column and maybe even through personal experience.

Local 802 leadership continues to be very committed to having services readily available. Musicians may now receive all services at our offices, just down the street from Local 802, at 729 Seventh Avenue between 48th and 49th. We will now be available to you five days a week, Monday through Friday, from 9:30 to 5. Call us at (212) 221-7300, ext. 119. We even pick up after business hours (for emergencies).

While you may already be aware of the scope of our programs, I would like to briefly highlight the various free services that will remain available to all musicians and your families. Please do not hesitate to give us a call.


Licensed social workers provide confidential short-term counseling, support, and referrals to specialists and community agencies. We can help you with problems related to family, relationships, life changes, stress, anxiety, depression, illness, disability and workplace concerns. We also have specialists on staff who can address your concerns regarding elder care and substance abuse.


We offer a host of workshops and groups to support you in balancing your work and personal life. Workshops focus on such topics as financial education, debt relief, credit consolidation and finding affordable housing. Support groups offer a place to share and learn new ways of managing stress and anxiety related to an illness, injury, family situation or even a career transition.


We are committed to continuing the Local 802 Networking Group as well as the Pilates classes. The next Networking Group is May 18. To reserve a spot, or for more information, contact Ell Miocene at or (917) 281-5955. Keep your eyes out for future dates. For more info on our Pilates classes for musicians, stay tuned; these will probably pick up again in the fall. We also offer a monthly free seminar at Local 802 on different aspects of career advancement. The next one is May 19 and the topic is careers in the healing arts. For more information, contact Ell Miocene at or (917) 281-5955.


The Actors Fund provides emergency financial assistance for basic living expenses such as rent, utilities or medical bills. Eligibility requires an application, documentation of your professional earnings and a meeting with a social worker. We can also refer you to other organizations that are committed to helping musicians.


We are here to help connect you to a wide variety of resources and community services. Looking for legal services or need more information about government or private benefits? We can point you in the right direction. Perhaps you need resources for your elderly parent and would like to investigate home care options or alternative housing resources? Or maybe you know someone who is experiencing a problem with alcohol or drugs and would like to understand treatment options? Our staff is available to help you figure out what will be most helpful and get you connected to the right resources.


Often musicians and other artists need to work outside of the business in order to pursue their craft. The Career Center offers a comprehensive suite of programs and services to help you identify meaningful sideline work or even a new career to help you stay financially independent. The first step is to attend a Career Center orientation session held every Monday from noon to 2 p.m. Call us for details at (917) 281-5959.


Our Artist Health Insurance Resource Center offers health insurance information through individual counseling and workshops. We have tons of resources up at The Al Hirschfeld Free Health Clinic provides free health care to uninsured and under-insured performing arts and entertainment professionals. Appointments can be made at (212) 489-1938.


Housing is a critical concern for many musicians and the Actors Fund is working in various ways to increase access to affordable and secure housing for our community. Our Housing Resource Center provides information on finding affordable housing through regularly held seminars. We’ll show you how to locate and apply for affordable housing as well as be privy to information about new developments.

We also own or manage our own residences, including low-cost housing and an assisted living facility for retired artists. Call us or visit our web site for more info.


  • Web site:
  • Special e-mail address that we always respond to:
  • Physical address: 729 Seventh Avenue, 10th floor, between West 48th and 49th
  • Best phone number to reach us for almost all services: (212) 221-7300, ext. 119.
  • Career Center: (917) 281-5959
  • Health Insurance Resource Center: (917) 281-5975

Tamar Shapiro, LCSW, is the national director of social services for the Actors Fund.