What’s All This About A Housing Allowance?

In response to Wednesday’s article about the new housing shared equity program in the San Francisco Symphony’s (SFS) new collective bargaining agreement (CBA), a number of readers reached out asking about the similar program at the LA Philharmonic I referenced.

It’s a straightforward item in the LA Phil’s CBA, Article 13.K:

Housing Allowance: On regularly scheduled paydays that follow the close of each payroll period during the Term of this Agreement the Association shall pay each Staff Musician a weekly housing allowance as follows, less required legal deductions:


  • 2017-2018 / $155
  • 2018-2019 / $215
  • 2019-2020 / $275
  • 2020-2021 / $335
  • 2021-2022 / $400

According to what I’m learning about the new SFS shared equity program, it will be a completely different beast. That’s all I can say for the moment but we’ll cover it in more detail once the information is confirmed.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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