BOYCOTT SHELTER!Make Text Bigger
That’s what Ken Loach called for 10 years ago, because Shelter’s CEO Adam Sampson wanted employees to do unpaid overtime to win a government contract. What, you thought Shelter was a charity that housed the homeless? That stopped 40 years ago!
“Ever since Ken Loach’s classic Cathy Come Home highlighted the plight of the homeless, the film director and the charity Shelter appeared to be a match made in heaven. Loach’s angry, ground-breaking television play caused a national outcry, led to questions in Parliament and coincided with Shelter’s launch, giving its founders a publicity boost beyond their wildest dreams. Loach has called for donors to boycott Shelter”
He said “I won’t be able to support Shelter and I don’t think others should. Shelter has always been campaigning and critical of government, but it has become corporate and had its teeth drawn.”
“Mr Sampson said the decision – which was necessary to help it compete successfully for government legal services contracts – had not been taken lightly but after a period of negotiation with the trade union which failed to find any “realistic alternatives”.” Click here
“Ken Loach, the award-winning film director, has urged donors to stop giving money to Shelter until a pay dispute at the charity is resolved.”
“Managers have demanded staff work an extra two and a half hours a week without additional pay – lost income worth an average of £1,700 per person over a year. They say the changes are necessary so Shelter can compete with such major private-sector companies as Capita in providing legal aid contracts.” Click here
Yes, you read that right, Shelter set itself up to compete for government legal services contracts with a private sector company! But tax-free Shelter, funded by donations, could not win the contract against a tax-paying, dividend-paying company without demanding that its employees do unpaid overtime.
Shelter only raised money for housing in the first ten years, according to this article from 1996.
“In 1966, appalled at the human suffering in Britain’s then extensive slums, a number of church housing trusts decided to launch a national campaign and chose a brilliant New Zealander, Des Wilson, to devise it and carry it out.”
“Des Wilson was 25 years old when he wrote a report for the church housing trusts urging that the campaign should aim to convince people that the housing situation “was out of control”, that Shelter would be a “rescue operation” in a national emergency and that the homeless were innocent victims. The campaign thus had resonance; it also had focus. The aim was to raise funds for housing trusts operating in four black spots – Glasgow, Liverpool, Birmingham and London. It had an evocative name, Shelter. And a few days before its launch it had a great piece of luck: Jeremy Sandford’s powerful documentary-drama about a homeless family, Cathy Come Home, was shown on television. As a result, the opening campaign – in which a charity for the first time used national newspaper advertising, generated editorial coverage by lobbying editors and journalists, and directly mailed bodies likely to be supportive – was an astounding success.”
“Shelter, too, has changed. It no longer needs to raise money for housing trusts. That gap was filled by the Government 20 years ago. It has replaced this activity with the provision of information, advice and advocacy through a national network of 48 housing aid centres.” Click here
So, even by 1976, Shelter had stopped raising money for housing, and had turned itself into a rival to the Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB). However, its fund-raising campaigns with their staged pictures of sad people still try to give the impression that they provide shelter. They are still trading on their reputation from over 40 years ago.
Do their donors and the people who leave money to Shelter in their wills realise that their money will just subsidise a mini Citizens’ Advice Bureau, combined with a left-wing lobby group that now has pretensions of becoming a mass movement?
A lobby group which supports disruptions to the private rental sector that will drive landlords out of business and increase homelessness – the very thing Shelter was set up to prevent? An organisation that tries to prevent the eviction of anti-social tenants and those who are in rent arrears?
An organisation whose new leaders contradict its own accumulated knowledge to mislead the public, and incite mobs of supporters to harass law-abiding businesses, and are therefore liars and bullies?
Yesterday Greg Beales, Shelter’s Minister of Truth, said: “The Landlord’s Alliance is a new group that appears to have been set up to make a number of false claims about Shelter Click here. One must have a heart of stone to read that without laughing, considering the false claims made by Shelter described in the articles listed above.
Under the new management Shelter seems to have lost its moral compass. We need to make the general public aware of this, and call for another boycott to put Shelter back on track.
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