Westbeth Artists Housing, the largest artist housing community in the world with nearly 400 units, is located between Bethune and Bank Streets and Washington and West Streets in the former Bell Labs. It had closed its wait list in 2007 since there were many on the list, and the wait could be as long as 20 years to get a unit where artists could both live and work. It just announced it has reopened its application process to be placed on the wait list for 65 days, until May 31. Applicants will participate in a lottery, and if selected be added to the wait list. As original residents age and die off, apartments are becoming available. Also, many apartments have been warehoused for a variety of reasons and are vacant.
There are income restrictions since the idea of Westbeth was to provide inexpensive housing for low and middle-income artists, whose creative life styles may contribute to the cultural life of the world, but with modest financial gain or stability. The permitted income has risen so one person can earn a maximum of $69,445 up to $114,950 for a family of six persons. These units formerly under HUD, now are under city Rent Stabilization, so rents will continue to increase. There are Section Eight subsidies for low-income residents available from HUD. Studios begin at $900 to $1,200 up to three-bedroom apartments (determined not by space but the number of windows) that cost $2,000 to $2,400. Apartments are not supposed to be market value according to the Westbeth founding 501 (C) (3) documents, however rents have been raised to market values in Section 8 units, with low-income residents paying rent according to their incomes, and the government paying the difference.Westbeth hired the Actors Fund to administer the program, and David Arnow, Director of Affordable Housing Initiatives presented information to the residents about this development in their Community Room. Along with filling out the application form, applicants must submit tax returns for the past two years, a current CV certifying creative achievements and an artist statement in an essay explaining the applicants’ work and professionalism.
The application can be obtained by:
1. Downloading it online at http://www.westbetharts.org/waitlist
2. Sending a letter requesting it and including a stamped, self-addressed envelope to Management, Westbeth, 463 West Street, NY, NY 10014.
All applications must be mailed using only REGULAR mail by May 31, 2019 to: Westbeth Artists Housing, PO Box 665, Village Station, New York, NY 10014.