Actors, writers and crewmembers are being hit by both the work stoppage and an end to COVID tenant protections, as MPTF president Bob Beitcher says, "We're talking to people who are living in their cars, in some cases with their families."
Four months into the writers strike and almost two months into the actors’, the fear of industry workers losing their apartments and homes due to the work stoppage has become an increasingly looming threat. In July, Deadline published a story with quotes from an anonymous studio exec saying the game plan was to let the strikes drag on until union members were losing their housing, and at a recent event, Entertainment Community Fund chair Annette Bening confirmed that is indeed happening.
David Baach, an actor who has been part of SAG since 2015 with credits on Curb Your Enthusiasm and Silicon Valley, is among those who have received a grant from the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s Emergency Assistance Program. For the last year, he’s lived in a rent-controlled, one-bedroom apartment in Larchmont, and before the strike, was always able to entirely cover his rent and bills with the money he earned as a working actor.
“The strike has had a massive impact on my housing situation. I worked one day in May, and since then all the work has stopped,” Baach tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I’ve almost depleted my entire savings, and I haven’t been able to pay my rent the last few months. My building manager and property owners extended me a grace period due to the good social credit I had built up by doing some gardening and landscaping in our building’s common area. However, in early August, I received an eviction notice from the building’s management company taped to my front door.”
Admitting “it’s downright humbling as an adult to come to find you’ve reached the limit of your own self-sufficiency, and that it’s time to ask for help,” he applied to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s aid program and quickly received a check for that month’s rent. He is also applying for grants from ECF and MPTF to help cover past rent that he owes.
“Everyone I know is hurting right now,” Baach continues. “When it comes to cost-cutting and saving, you can get lean in almost every other aspect of life, but when it comes to rent, that’s a bill that has to be paid in full. We’re all struggling with that, and we all just want to get back to work; however, we need to be sure that getting back to work will mean that we can earn enough to responsibly afford to cover our costs of living.”
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