Is Shelter a charity?

Is Shelter a charity?

10:59 AM, 20th November 2018, About 4 years ago 35

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Or is it a commercial enterprise, a sub-contractor to government or a left-wing pressure group financed by the general public?

The answer to all of these is yes. In the year to March 2017 Shelter received £2.1m from legal services contracts, and £2.5m from advising advisers on behalf of the government:

“Shelter received £2,494,000 in funding from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government to deliver the National Homelessness Advice Service to Local Authorities, Citizens Advice in England, and other local and national voluntary advice organisations. The overall aims of the project are to enable frontline providers to deliver good quality housing and homelessness advice, and support and facilitate the prevention of homelessness where possible.”

However, does it provide shelter? No, it’s not that kind of charity.

Let Shelter explain what it spends your money on:

“What we do

Shelter helps millions of people every year struggling with bad housing or homelessness through our advice, support and legal services. And we campaign to make sure that, one day, no one will have to turn to us for help (emphasis added)”. Click here

But does Shelter do good works? You can’t tell from the accounts. These are opaque, and just divide the expenditure into vague headings. In the year to March 2017 it spent £33.2 million on “Housing advice and support”. It doesn’t give a sub-total, you have to add the items up yourself, but you will scour the annual report in vain for what they mean by support.

The expenditure under “Housing advice and support” is made up of:

Shelter received £17.9m for this from the government, Local Authorities, the lottery and other agencies.  The other £19.1m was financed by donations and legacies and so was the £5.9m that was spent on Research, Policy and Campaigning.

People who donate or bequeath money to Shelter thinking it will house someone are in fact paying for the new management’s campaign of harassment of letting agents and its lobbying in support of legislation that will drive private landlords out of the market, reducing the supply of rented housing.

What irony.



14:38 PM, 20th November 2018, About 4 years ago

Yes the public are decieved by Shelter and its marketing . The other charities which run on very small budgets and are at the coalface of homelessness get very little and so deparately need the support .
If you really were a charity setup to help homelessness would you not want to work with the PRS who provide it?
Would you not want to work with the PRS so it was viable for them to take DSS.?
I always find this a strange one because landlords are accused of robbing the public purse on all the amount of benefits paid. But landlords do not get it tenants do and many tenants keep it. Also in many areas the housing allocation as been cut so low you cant afford anything decent.
This alone might push desparate tenants to the few rogue landlords with substandard homes as thats all they can afford.
Shelter need to report on all negatives because they would not be in highly paid jobs without it. Maybe thats why now they have turned on Letting agents to keep the money coming in from Government?
This black mould they like to report on and totally blame the landlord for did they get the landlords view. Did they consult a damp specialist because without this how can they show ads implying its the landlord?
Its not as though the PRS would not work with them for the good of tenants, unfortunately Shelter seem to support policies which increases the rent

Annie Landlord

16:08 PM, 20th November 2018, About 4 years ago

Shelter's attitude towards PRS landlords is shortsighted, ill-informed and inexcusable. Having said that, as a charity it is doing what all charities do. Below is some info from NSPCC (I worked for them for years) Many people felt, probably still do, that NSPCC should be providing homes for abused children and not spending so much money on fundraising. I was involved in a lot of those discussions. The point is, many larger charities have concluded they can best achieve their aims through campaigns and media activity. Providing direct services (eg if Shelter spent its money on bricks and mortar) only helps a small number of people. We may not agree, but that's how it is.
The fight for childhood is a joint effort, so we need to make sure that we attract, and keep, the best skilled and experienced staff.
"In our commitment to openness, we are disclosing salaries inline with guidelines set out by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO).
Pay for the Chief Executive and each member of our Executive board is agreed by the Remuneration Committee. The committee is made up of members of our Trustee board: the Chair, Vice Chair and Treasurer.
Table of executive pay
During the financial year to the end of March 2017, the Chief Executive and board members were paid as follows:
Name Role Annual salary
Peter Wanless Chief Executive £170,000
Sherry Malik Director of Children's Services £129,000
Alison Jeremy Director of Communications £120,000
David Roberts Director of Corporate Services £131,000
Peter Watt Director of National Services £122,000
Siobhan Sheridan Director of People £110,000
Kate Stanley Director of Strategy, Policy and Evidence £77,000
NSPCC's income in 2017 was £127.4 million

Luke P

16:33 PM, 20th November 2018, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Annie Landlord at 20/11/2018 - 16:08Thanks for highlighting that, Annie...I say we avoid the NSPCC too looking at that!
Time charities became charitable once again and not one big advertising agency.

John McKay

17:18 PM, 20th November 2018, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Luke P at 20/11/2018 - 16:33
Good grief! £170k!!! I'm with you on that Luke. I wouldn't give them one penny now.


19:15 PM, 20th November 2018, About 4 years ago

Whenever I'm approached in the street to donate, my first question is how much is the CEO paid? if over £75k I say charity begins at home - goodbye!

user_ 8640

19:34 PM, 20th November 2018, About 4 years ago

Obfuscated Data

Whiteskifreak Surrey

19:35 PM, 20th November 2018, About 4 years ago

So - what role would the new NLA and Larry play in all this?

Jay James

19:53 PM, 20th November 2018, About 4 years ago

Shelter are publishing the worng company number on thier website. They state 1038133. This does not come up with any company. The correct number is very close to this, but who would know to search around for this? This sort of error by a large organisation in the public eye surely cannot be an unintended error. What have they got to hide?

Annie Landlord

20:37 PM, 20th November 2018, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Luke P at 20/11/2018 - 16:33
Haha:) I have no problem with charities paying salaries comparable with public sector roles. Private businesses with that sort of turnover pay a lot more. I guess the point I'm trying to get over is that we should be constantly explaining to Shelter why their anti PRS strategy is so damaging - with facts and statistics. Inferring that charities shouldn't pay comparable salaries to their directors or that they should meekly do what half a dozen landlords want them to do just isn't going to fly.

James Fraser

20:43 PM, 20th November 2018, About 4 years ago

Annie, you are absolutely correct in your assessment that big charities feel they achieve more by campaigning, and in all truth they are probably correct to think this. However...

The Red Cross actually buys blankets and gives them to people in crisis situations. It doesn’t ‘advise’ people where to get blankets. The RSPCA (lamentable bunch of mis-managed corporates though they are) actually give medical care and rehoming to animals, they don’t (just) ‘advise’ how to do this. The Royal British Legion actually pay rent arrears for ex-servicemen to keep them housed, not advise on how to pay their rent. Macmillan actually provide nurses for cancer care, they don’t advise how you can get one. See where I’m going with this?

It is true that however you come by housing, it is an expensive proposition, but Shelter could set up a Housing Association, build-to-rent, help its tenants claim benefits and actually make money on it. The real reason they will never, ever house anybody is because the moment a homeless charity hands over a set of keys they enter into an existential crisis. Unless they are truly intending to house their clients for free, indefinitely, they will sooner or later have to evict someone. The moment they do, they cannot be an effective homeless/advice charity as they are then contributing to the very problem they exist to assist with. Thus they will always bully and harass real housing providers, but will never do it themselves.

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