Artist-only affordable housing? It’s true!

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Schermerhorn House, photo via Brownstoner

Ever dream of trading in your windowless room-that-doubles-as-an-arts-studio for a deluxe apartment in the sky, or maybe just something mouse-free with a window? If you’re like me, or the Jeffersons, consider heading over to a seminar on affordable housing for artists at The Schermerhorn, a newly constructed condo/artist haven, on Tuesday at 6pm. The event will provide details on the the 100 subsidized studio apartments up for grabs in the 217-unit building. That’s right: 100 apartments, just for artist types. So what makes this building different from every other walkup in Brooklyn? 

The studios are reserved specifically for “actors, screenwriters, musicians, dancers, editors, composers, set designers, producers, singers, directors and other performing arts and entertainment professionals” and are very affordably priced (monthly rent starts at $635). You have to be a resident of Community Board 2 (Boerum Hill,  Brooklyn Heights, Clinton Hill, Downtown, DUMBO, Fort Greene, Vinegar Hill) and earn between $21,770 and $33,660 a year, which, last we checked, was true for most artists we know.

The building isn’t some nouveau McKibbin lofts either: each apartment has a private bath and full kitchen; building amenities include a 24/7 security staff, coin-op laundry facility, fitness room, computer lab, and indoor and outdoor spaces for relaxation including a rooftop garden. Plus, The Schermerhorn is home to a 2,000 square foot state-of-the-art performance space and multipurpose room, which residents and community arts organizations use for rehearsals, performances and exhibitions.

The remaining non-artist units will go to formerly homeless individuals living with HIV/AIDS or mental health needs, so you won’t exactly be living next to an annoying banker if you win one of the coveted spots. Since there are dozens of artists in practically every building in Kings County, I recommend you reserve your space ahead of time. The event is sponsored by the Brooklyn Arts Council in conjunction with the Actors Fund and Common Ground.

The Schermerhorn info session, 160 Schermerhorn St., Tuesday. Doors and networking, 6:00-6:30pm; presentation and Q&A, 6:30-7:30 pm.

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  1. Have you ever heard of the Westbeth building in the West village? Same deal, full of amazing dancers, musicians, and artist. Probably a 50 year waiting list to get in. Merce Cuningham’s dance studio was/is on the top floor.

  2. Uhm, is this a joke. What’s up with the condition that you have to be a resident of some of the most expensive and gentrified neighborhoods of Brooklyn. Most artists I know cannot of afford to live in these neighborhoods to begin with and definitely not many if any artists of color. Give me a break. Its like holding out a plastic carrot. Whatever.

    • I know 4 black artists that live in this building. its not a joke. Rent for your own studio is less than $700 per month

  3. If you dont mind living among homeless and recovering addicts this is great. I attended the session, you dont have to live in community board 2. That was a previous requirement

  4. The stipulation that you MUST be a resident of Community Board 2 is most likely completely FALSE unless this is a completely privately owned building that does not have a deal with the city in lieu of a tax break. If the latter is the case, then residents of Community Board 2 likely have PRIORITY/PREFERENCE over residents of other areas of NYC, but as part of the deal application is open to all city residents. If the building management and/or landlord cannot get enough residents of Community Board 2 among their list of applicants in units for a variety of reasons, then they will move to applicants who have lower priority/preference, including those from other areas of NYC.

    Here’s the issue for some artists though: among the variety of reasons you might not be accepted include failing a credit check. Just FYI on that one.

  5. Dear,
    My name is Sonia Lee and I am an artist Painter, from Paris, I would
    like to work in New York and further my career. I am inquiring living
    and working for the Housing for Artists. I have registered at the Brooklyn
    Art Council already. Would you please visit my website at

    Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.

  6. I currently live in LA, but as a musician, always considered moving to NYC.
    I know though, NYC housing prices are totally not affordable. Work situation in LA in horrible, and I’m making less than 15.000 a year. I had almost no gigs this summer.
    I’d like to fill out the application, if available and move out here.
    Where can I obtain it?
    thank you

  7. Too bad visual artists are not included! I am 57 quite talented and would love a loft space. I paint daily and help in galleries and Art Shows.

  8. Please notify me of any current or upcoming vacancies in this apartment space.
    Thank you.

    Justin Thomas

  9. Hello, my name is Tiffany webb. I need to move by October 31st. I am an artist that qualifies for the affordable artists apartments. How do I go about applying?

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