The Battle of the Actors’ Fund: The Woman Whose Mind Was Racing

COUNTDOWN TO MY FIRST POST-PESACH BAGEL: 6 DAYS! More matzo and egg salad today. 

Hello, friends! Thank you for coming back for the riveting follow-up to The Battle of the Actors’ Fund.

The next day I joyously discovered my hands that I had wrung off next to a package of chewable Gas-X (mint flavored), and I paced around my friends’ apartment awaiting the call. It finally came. I’ll refrain from writing out the transcript of the call, save for one notable quote, because it was abominably useless.

The one thing that I will commend the Actors’ Fund on is that they hire a great crew of women with sympathetic voices. Although I’m sure that this is not a coincidence, and most of them were or are actors themselves.

Our new Kind Lady informs me that she read my email, but perhaps I could tell her now over the phone. I wanted to say that, “No. The email really gives it the emphasis and color that I intended, so, let’s move on!” But I was too downtrodden, so I just summed up my email once more. She then began to stammer, and mention a list of things that I was scribbling onto a piece of my friend’s stationary, trying to organize her incoherent thoughts for the both of us.

New Kind Lady: “I- I’m sorry. My mind is just racing right now, I’m thinking of so many things.” 

Translation: “Hey, Miss Sad Pants! And her friend Serious Sally. How ’bout a nice cool mint to turn those frowns upside down?” 


What I ended up with was a list of everything that I could have found on the website. There was no meeting to set up at that time. If I wished to talk to someone for further assistance, I would need to attend the orientation that they hold every Monday at 12pm. At the conclusion of the orientation, I would then speak to the lecturer and again explain my situation with the paltry chance of then being tossed into another Kind Lady’s inbox.

Here is a list of helpful things from the Woman Whose Mind Was Racing:

  • Online housing bulletin (y’know, once I can get a job that will afford me said housing).
  • Career Center orientation on Monday at 12pm to assist in finding sideline work, new careers, and any other depressing issue that might be wiggling around inside of your pounding brain.
  • Entertainer’s Assistance April 29th at 10am (another orientation that is supposed to help actors be more effective Craigslist perusers).
  • Episcopal Actors’ Guild Pantry (Free food for the actual starving. This one definitely hit me like a ton of tuna cans). The address is 1 East 29th Street (between Madison and 5th ave) 212-685-2927. Interesting thing about the Actors’ Guild is that they also have a financial aid program. But you can only apply for assistance once you have exhausted the other union based assistance programs and have proof of this exhaustion. We may be knocking on their door soon…
  • Financial Management workshop to help artists manage and maintain a budget. I think I’ll manage my stock in Great Value products in solitary, thank you very much.

Towards the end of the phone call, the Woman Whose Mind Was Racing asked me if I had any specific debts that I needed money for. This was the most disconcerting part of the conversation. I do not have pressing debts, but a pressing need for a job and a home. While financial aid is available for people that make a pathetic income when they need to pay rent for an existing apartment, utilities, education, it is not available otherwise.

She also asked me if I had thought about applying for food stamps. I actually have applied for food stamps, but because I was ignorant about the process, my week long window to submit letters and identity information expired and I was no longer eligible for the year.

I do not qualify for any of the affordable housing or housing lotteries through the Actors’ Fund. Here is the eligibility information regarding the housing on the Actors’ Fund website:

  • The Lillian Booth Actors Home 

    Eligibility: The Actors Fund Homes is an assisted living and skilled nursing home for the entertainment community. To qualify for admission, the resident must disclose his or her professional eligibility, which is based upon work history in the entertainment industry. In general, an applicant over 60 years of age should have a minimum of 20 years of work within the industry with annual earnings of at least $2,000 for ten out of those 20 years. Exceptions to the 20 year minimum eligibility criterion include dancers, who had to retire or transition out of the industry due to age, as well as any entertainment professional forced to transition out of the industry due to a disability or to other circumstances. Spouses, domestic partners, parents, children and siblings are eligible for admission based on the employment history of an eligible family member. Based on bed availability, the skilled nursing home or assisted living facility, is available to Bergen County residents outside the industry.

  • The Dorothy Ross Friedman Residence

    Eligibility: Based on federal guidelines under the Internal Revenue Service Federal Tax Credit Program. To be eligible, you must have an income of 60% or less of the area’s median income. To apply to The Dorothy Ross Friedman Residence, your annual income may not exceed $36,300 and should not be less than $17,000. We do accept most forms of rental subsidies. A limited number of one-bedroom units are available for individuals with specialized needs who meet the medical criteria. Households of two will be considered for a one bedroom only if both members are persons with AIDS, or senior citizens with joint incomes not exceeding income guidelines of $41,460 annually and a minimum income of no less than $18,000.

  •  The Schermerhorn

    Eligibility: Eligibility for The Schermerhorn is based on federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Guidelines. Applicant’s gross income from all sources (employment, benefits, asset interest) cannot exceed $36,300 and not be less than $21,770. Monthly rents start at $635.


  • Palm View 

Eligibility: Eligibility requirements for housing in The Palm View are based on occupancy and annual income criteria, and residents must be diagnosed with HIV or AIDS. Household size for a one-bedroom apartment is one to two people, and occupancy for a two-bedroom apartment is two to four people. The annual income to qualify as a Palm View resident must be between the ranges of $17,400-$29,000 for one person, and $29,890-$33,150 for two people.


I do not make enough money to be eligible for any of the housing. I have applied for Section 8 housing through the site, but the last time I lived in the projects of New York City, I was almost mugged for my coffee in the elevator and I got bed bugs.

So, I suppose you could say that I’m mildly skeptical about this city’s Section 8 housing.


This Monday, I have a job interview for a temp agency. I have never been a temp in my life, so I’ll let you know how that goes. I can only assume that petty cash is involved.


That means that I will have to wait for the following week to visit the Career Center orientation.

Tomorrow we will travel back in time to the summer of 2008! I will tell you the story about how I almost worked at Urban Outfitters, flew to Paris instead, pretended to be mute, and froze my ass off in Luxembourg for months wearing a motion capture suit.


Author: Lauren Ashley Carter

Lauren Ashley Carter is an actress, producer, writer, director, mystique, bagel-eater, lover of all things red. You've seen her in The Woman, Jug Face, Pod, Darling, The Mind's Eye, Law and Order SVU. You will see her in Imitation Girl.

2 thoughts on “The Battle of the Actors’ Fund: The Woman Whose Mind Was Racing”

  1. LAC, I’m loving this, and I sincerely hope that we get new posts every day (or that you become too busy making money to post them). Your humor and honesty are so refreshing and entertaining, particularly when so many people go out of their way to manufacture a “fabulous” life in social media. I’ve wanted to work with you for years. It’s about time that the people with money take notice.

  2. They want you to be a 70 year old lady with AIDS who likes to cut herself, and recites Sylvia Plath in demonic tongues, and then they’d help you.

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