Writers strike picketers outside of the Sunset Gower Studio in Hollywood, CA. (Christy Macintosh/Flickr/Creative Commons)
Last week, Inevitable Foundation launched an Emergency Relief Fund to provide financial assistance to disabled writers amid the 2023 Writers Guild for America strike. This fund was created in response to the WGA strike 15 years ago, as stated by The Hollywood Reporter, and supports union and non-union writers with disabilities through major industry crises such as the current strike.
The Hollywood Reporter wrote that the fund announced last Thursday that it would begin offering “unrestricted, responsive cash grants,” with the first round of funding having begun on May 11 and will continue to May 21. The foundation will distribute grants starting at $500 for writers expected to lose income and job opportunities from the strike.
Since the nonprofit does not have any formal relationship with the WGA, the foundation said in a statement that the fund serves as a way to remain “ responsive to the negative impacts of the strike on the careers of disabled writers both inside and outside the union since non-union writers were also impacted and face work stoppages”.
The article reports that Hollywood’s disabled writers are among 25 percent of the U.S. population who identify as a person of disability. This group is not only twice as likely to live in poverty, but also deal with a 28 percent higher cost of living average than their non-disabled counterparts.
Inevitable co-founder Richer Siegel told The Hollywood Reporter, “We’re stepping into an emergency situation and a crisis for the workforce that is unfortunately at a large disadvantage in terms of money, survival, housing, and healthcare. But we don’t necessarily want to be doing this for the foreseeable future.”
“The hope is that we can continue to be responsive in meaningful ways to a large group of disabled writers in this community that are most affected by this crisis that is, hopefully, resolved soon,” Siegel continued.
The fund will last an undisclosed period of time and grants are currently on a one-time only basis. There is the chance that new writers and first round recipients can apply in the future, however, and grant amounts could grow depending on how long the strike lasts.
Priority is currently being given to union members who were working as of May 1, the day before the strike began, and have shown to be in financial need according to Inevitable’s assessment. Union members on the cusp of securing work (including being in the final interview stage, negotiations, or contract stage) will be considered next, and lastly union members who are not employed or were on the verge of securing employment before the strike will be considered. Non-union members working as of May 1 will then be considered and very lastly, non-union writers who were nearing securing work.
Inevitable’s writers strike report showed that 45 percent of disabled respondents were already in debt of over $50,000. The findings support Inevitable’s decision to give grants and not loans to writers in need. Siegel said that the report found worrying statistics that 43 percent of disabled writers have less than three months of savings and 67 percent have less than six months of savings.
“Knowing that the last strike was over three months, we’re looking at total wipe-out scenarios,” Seigel said, describing the financial states “crystalling and frankly challenging.”
The 10-day window to apply to the fund for a first-round grant began last Thursday with applications available—including plain text format—on the Inevitable Foundation website. They will be reviewed by foundation staff with a projected turnaround time of one week or less. The foundation is also accepting donations to expand their granting abilities.