The long established organisation called Shelter styles itself "the housing and homelessness charity." The term "charity" implies voluntary donations. But we give it over £10 million a year via our taxes whether we like it or not – including over £3 million from the DCLG.
The other misnomer about the term "charity" is that we might imagine its spend it money helping the homeless. Shelter doesn't provide any housing for anyone.
It used to by providing funds for Housing Associations to build homes. That was the point of Shelter when it was set up in 1966. But the organisation has now lost it way and fails to fufil that role.
It would still claim that it does some practical work in helping tenants fight eviction. Whether an eviction is justified or not is for the courts to decide – although by paying for the tenant's lawyers while the landlord has to pay his own lawyers I suppose Shelter can make a difference. But making it harder for landlords to evict tenants doesn't increase the amount of housing available – rather the reverse. The best protection for tenants is for more landlords to come forward offering property. Peter Rachman's ability to exploit was due to other landlords being unwilling to rent to black people.
Apart from fighting the class war against landlords another big chunk of Shelter's money goes on lobbying against the Government under the direction of its Chief Executive, Campbell Robb, who used to work for the Labour Party. For instance they paid ComRes to ask councillors some pretty loaded questions about the Housing Benefit changes. Is that what taxpayers money, or charitable donations, should go on?
Who would have guessed in 1966 that Shelter would be campaigning for some families to have rents of £100,000 paid for by the taxpayer while others were in serious housing need?
If the Government wants to do something practical about the housing shortage they should scrap funding to Shelter and use the money to boost the New Homes Bonus.