Homeless and housing charity empires have sprung up in the last 20 years without any proper independent oversight and governance, says Dublin City Councillor Mannix Flynn (above)
In a no-holds-barred polemic, Independent Dublin City Councillor Mannix Flynn, writing in Village (full article at link below), takes on the homelessness ‘industry’….
‘…The Peter Mc Verry Trust, Focus Ireland, The Simon community, De Paul and the myriad approved housing bodies are worth tens of millions. With tens of millions on deposit.
Not-for-profit does not indicate non-commercial. Scandalously, homelessness is a business like any other, except when it comes to accountability and transparency.
Many of these entities have become fiefs in competition with each other for clients and real estate. One is reminded of the residential institutions and their greed to fill their institutions with the poor in order to make money per head
Homeless and housing charity empires have sprung up in the last 20 years without any proper independent oversight and governance. Vast sums of money and sprawling assets are under the control of these untouchables. What’s at play here is agency-capture as worthy intentions get corrupted by entanglements with conservative bureaucracy.
The saying goes that ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions’. It was a byword for many of our grandest institutions like the Catholic Church.
…The CEOs of these institutions, the supposed charities, are on top dollar.
They control huge resources and operate like corporations. In 2016 Ashley Balbirnie, CEO of Focus Ireland, drew a €115,000 salary for overseeing 327 staff with revenue of €19,596,418 in 2014. Kerry Anthony, CEO of Depaul Ireland, drew an €82,831 salary for overseeing, including in Northern Ireland, 325 staff and revenue of €12,923,195. Joyce Loughnan of Focus Ireland was drawing €125,000 in 2013. In 2014, Dublin Simon’s chief executive, Sam McGuinness, was on a salary of €93,338.
A 2018 survey by the Wheel suggested of all charities the homelessness ones paid their CEOs the most, with average salaries of over €80,000.
…According to the Irish Times, in 2014 staff costs at the four main homeless agencies in the city absorbed all funds, and more, granted them by the State for the provision of homelessness services.
Dublin Simon, the Peter McVerry Trust, Depaul Ireland and Focus Ireland received a total of €33.6 million in grants from State agencies in 2014, but spent €35.8 million on staff costs on the 875 people they employed in 2014.
…As the canal banks fill up with tents and the footpaths with sleeping bags with no end of hand-wringing, anyone can slap on a hi-vis jacket and call themselves an outreach worker. Within a short space of time they can elevate themselves to becoming senior executives, or their own CEO…
Agency Capture Part 1: Homelessness (Mannix Flynn, Village)