Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Bill

Written evidence submitted by the Quaker Housing Trust (CHB 09)

 

1. Quaker Housing Trust welcomes Clause 9: ‘conduct of charities disposal of assets’ [1] which would protect charities from being compelled to use or dispose of assets in a way that is inconsistent with their charitable purposes. We urge government to retain this clause and continue to both protect charitable housing and honour the intentions of those who fund it.

2. It is a real concern to Quakers that the donations channelled through us into charitable housing projects should continue to provide the stable and affordable homes for which they were given. We strongly oppose the benefit of that money passing into private hands and becoming individual housing profit.

3. From our funding experience, we question the legitimacy of requiring the sale of assets owned by charitable housing providers which is being mooted under other legislation outlined in the Housing and Planning Bill. In particular, we believe the forced disposal of a charity’s housing should not be permissible where that goes against the trust deed of the charity.

4. Quaker Housing Trust works with mostly small projects meeting real housing need. This may be helping individuals who are vulnerable at points of transition in their lives or will always need some support. The housing projects are often contributing to well-balanced and sustainable communities, perhaps meeting a small but locally significant housing need.

5. We turn Quaker vision, energy and money into help for charitable social housing projects. These can transform the lives of vulnerable people by giving them a safe and appropriate place to live. We fund practical elements of actual housing through grants and interest free loans. We also offer grants relating to four specific areas of good practice and development in housing provision.

6. Housing should always been adequate, appropriate and affordable, whatever that might mean at each stage in our lives. Home ownership is not always right for everyone, nor at eve ry stage of our lives. Social h ousing for rent is an important option for secure housing in the choices available for everyone.

7. Quakers in Britain [2] have been actively engaged in promoting social housing for over a hundred years. Since 1967 Quakers have been putting their own money into the provision of social housing through their national charity , Quaker Housing Trust (QHT) [3] . We are a very practical expression of the Quaker concern about the needs of badly housed and otherwise homeless people in Britain.

December 2015


[1] Clause 9: Conduct of charities: disposal of assets: “ The Charity Commission shall ensure that independent charities are not compelled to use or dispose of their assets in a way which is inconsistent with their charitable purposes. ”

[2] The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Britain. Registered charity number 1127633. Around 23,000 people attend 478 Quaker meetings in Britain.

[3] Quaker Housing Trust is the housing charity of Quakers in Britain , funded by donations, loans and legacies from Friends (Quakers) . A unique national channel for practical Quaker witness in social housing since 1967. Supporting local projects through advice, interest-free loans and grants. Registered company number 00924311. Registered charity number 254704. www.qht.org.uk

 

Prepared 16th December 2015