The WGA West has doubled the amount of interest-free loans available to members in need through its Good and Welfare Emergency Assistance Fund – up from a $3,500 to $7,000. Members in good standing can now apply for and receive up to two such loans for a total lifetime amount of $14,000. The increase was approved unanimously by the guild’s board of directors.
“This increase will hopefully create a meaningful financial safety net for more of our membership,” the guild said Wednesday in a message to its members. “The past year has been uniquely difficult, and the challenges we face aren’t over. The effects of Covid-19 on our lives and our industry, ongoing social and political upheaval, and increasing threats due to climate change have put substantial stress on our members. More than ever, we need to rely on the greatest resource our Guild can provide – our sense of community.”
Established in 1992, the Good and Welfare Fund, which the guild administers in partnership with the Motion Picture & Television Fund, assists WGA West members who are experiencing acute financial distress in emergency situations.
In its message, the guild also encouraged members who are unable to pay for basic living expenses to reach out to The Actors Fund, which offers a wide range of social, financial and educational services to industry workers. The Actors Fund’s guidance and counseling services are free and confidential, and special initiatives are provided for women, people with HIV/AIDS, mental health, short- and long-term disability, and those in recovery from addiction.
“Financial distress rarely exists in a vacuum,” the guild said. “Health concerns, personal and emotional issues, legal problems and struggles with housing, disability and addiction are common and expected to rise. None of us is exempt from the challenges of the world today. But as isolated as many of us have felt over the past year, it’s important to remember that we aren’t alone. If you, or anyone you know, is struggling or in crisis, don’t wait to reach out.”
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