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.


Annie Landlord

13:34 PM, 21st November 2018, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Luke P at 20/11/2018 - 22:50
The short answer is yes, of course Shelter is a charity. It fulfils all the criteria. Charities receive so much central funding because successive governments have off loaded the most difficult work, with the most difficult and vulnerable clients to the third sector, over many years. There are the tiny, local or single issue charities then there are the multi million pound charities. They may not all do what some individuals might like them to do, but that doesn't make their charitable status questionable. Its impossible to please everyone all of the time.
Top 100 charities' income reached record £9.5bn last year
1 Cancer Research UK (1) £446.5m raised out of a total income of £634.9m.
2 British Heart Foundation (2) £263.8m, £288.2m.
3 Macmillan Cancer Support (6) £214.1m, £218.4m.
4 Oxfam (3) £192.8m, £401.4m.
5 Sightsavers (10) £184.7m, £199.7m.
6 RNLI (4) £170.9m, £190.1m.
7 British Red Cross (7) £139.1m, £261.8m.

Sean Graveney

14:06 PM, 21st November 2018, About 4 years ago

That’s a really interesting article, although deeply ironic that it’s written by the IEA.

Michael Barnes

19:34 PM, 21st November 2018, About 4 years ago

I have no problem with Shelter being a campaigning charity to improve the lot of those in poor housing.

What is wrong is that their campaigns are actually making the situation worse for those of low income in decent accommodation.

If they were campaigning for more money to enforce the legislation we have and to provide more social housing to meet the needs of the underprivileged, then they would do far more good than their current approach of making it financially impossible for good landlords to provide PRS accommodation to that demographic.

Chris @ Possession Friend

23:26 PM, 21st November 2018, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by LANDLORD 35 at 21/11/2018 - 10:18
Couldn't agree more, ' MHCLG's paid agents '
and yes their multi role is not morally defensible ( but since when were the govt, or Shelter for that matter, concerned with morals if they were, they'd fund 'some' actual practical help - accommodation, and stump up a deposit / or stand guarantee for tenants struggling to secure a tenancy.

Martin Thomas

11:26 AM, 22nd November 2018, About 4 years ago

Write and complain about Shelter's bias to your MP - I did.

Annie Landlord

11:49 AM, 22nd November 2018, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Michael Barnes at 21/11/2018 - 19:34
Surely its us, the landlords, who should be campaigning for existing legislation to be enforced? Shelter, to be fair, is also very outspoken about the failings of the SRS and has a major report on it due out. Their failing is they have listened to the thousands of tenants who contact them, who have said "oh, my landlord is throwing me out and I've done nothing wrong" and they take many of the stories at face value. If they could bring themselves to talk to the landlords concerned they would maybe develop a more balanced view.
But .... councils have no money, the SRS can't cope, and Shelter is a charity to help the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless. In their eyes, attacking the PRS is entirely reasonable because we're the only buggers who can take the strain! It will backfire, landlords will sell, landlords will leave properties empty, landlords will find other ways to protect their properties, but if we lower ourselves to the level of the anti landlord brigade we just fall into their trap

terry sullivan

12:23 PM, 22nd November 2018, About 4 years ago

shelter, like oxfam, is a political entity, and as such should not have charitable status

Chris @ Possession Friend

12:38 PM, 22nd November 2018, About 4 years ago

Councils can get their enforcement costs paid for out of Civil Penalties, it does take Licensing the majority of good landlords to pay for bureaucracy !

Seething Landlord

12:56 PM, 22nd November 2018, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Annie Landlord at 22/11/2018 - 11:49
Another point that we should remember is that it's only disgruntled, aggrieved or threatened tenants who ever have a reason to contact Shelter. They never hear from the overwhelming majority of happy and contented tenants. They probably also find that a disproportionate number of those they have to deal with are what we would all describe as "rogue" landlords who are bending or trying to circumvent the rules so it is not surprising that they end up with a jaundiced view. It is not far removed from the way that the proportionately few DSS claimants who turn out to be rogue tenants give them all a bad name.

Appalled Landlord

17:19 PM, 23rd November 2018, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Seething Landlord at 21/11/2018 - 12:47
Hi Seething

What adjective would you use for organisations that compete with Capita PLC for government contracts?

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