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.



Comments

Annie Landlord

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

Reply to the comment left by Jay James at 20/11/2018 - 19:53
?? The same number is shown on their website, the Charity Commission and Companies House

John McKay

21:29 PM, 20th November 2018, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by James Fraser at 20/11/2018 - 20:43
Marvellous Jamie, fantastic post!

Annie Landlord

22:21 PM, 20th November 2018, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by James Fraser at 20/11/2018 - 20:43
Yes I can see your point James, though Shelter does make direct payments to some clients, which I think they refer to as grants. They also run a scheme with Bristol Credit Union to provide loans for deposits for tenants in the PRS and they offer free legal representation for tenants.Its all on their accounts somewhere. Maybe it would be an idea for someone to ask Shelter, politely, why they don't provide bricks and mortar. I suspect the answer would be that it would be far too costly, together with your comment about evictions! That wouldn't be a good look for them!

Luke P

22:50 PM, 20th November 2018, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Annie Landlord at 20/11/2018 - 22:21
Isn’t that exactly what frustrates…their own fear of providing that which others dare to (despite their calls for those doing so to be hounded out), because the reality is much tougher than they portray, all while lecturing from the sidelines about how easy it is, and all because they themselves will have to concede they are wrong one way or the other; be that in their actions or words?

Charitable origins and principles should not be compromised because its management stand to lose face. That puts select individuals ahead of their cause, which is morally bankrupt. If it wouldn’t be a good look, it’s time the reassessed their output.

Fantastic comment (and indeed explaination of what I expect is correct), Jamie BTW!

Larry Sweeney

8:25 AM, 21st November 2018, About 4 years ago

Jamie's analysis is exact.
Case stated and closed.

Old Mrs Landlord

9:05 AM, 21st November 2018, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by MoodyMolls at 20/11/2018 - 14:38Contrary to the heading, this is a response to James Fraser. You make your point well Jamie and it is undeniable that homelessness charities have an interest in self-perpetuation that is at odds with the aim to eliminate or at least reduce homelessness. However, other homelessness charities such as St. Mungo's seem to manage to combine their advice and campaigning roles with provision of actual accommodation, some temporary but some permanent.

terry sullivan

9:58 AM, 21st November 2018, About 4 years ago

no charity should receive public funding--ever

LANDLORD 35

10:18 AM, 21st November 2018, About 4 years ago

Is Shelter a charity? According to a report by the Institute of
Economic Affairs published in 2012, Shelter is a Government
Sock Puppet.
https://iea.org.uk/publications/research/sock-puppets-how-the-government-lobbies-itself-and-why

Whiteskifreak Surrey

11:29 AM, 21st November 2018, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by LANDLORD 35 at 21/11/2018 - 10:18Is it worth putting that link on Shelter's FB page? What do you think?

Seething Landlord

12:47 PM, 21st November 2018, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by LANDLORD 35 at 21/11/2018 - 10:18
Thanks for the link to this report which traces the way in which the traditional idea of a charity has changed, largely through Government policy and intervention: "The relationship between charities and the British state has been
significantly transformed in the last fifteen years. There is a gulf
between the public’s perception of what is charitable - a traditional
view still dominated by visions of self-sacrificing volunteers and
jumble sales - and the third sector’s view of itself as a more caring,
semi-professional wing of the state."
Shelter is only mentioned in passing once, in the section which includes the following: "But there are many charities which receive substantial government
funding while seeking, at least in part, to influence government
policy. Most of these non-profit organisations were set up
independently and have been subcontracted as service providers
by government bureaucracies in their middle and later years. Many
have always had a campaigning agenda of some sort and can
reasonably argue that the legislation they fight for will further their
charitable purpose (this being one of the Charity Commission’s few
requirements)."
Reading the full report will put matters in perspective and explain why they are "a sub-contractor to government or a left-wing pressure group financed by the general public". I believe that they are non-profit making so it's probably not correct to describe them as a commercial organisation.

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