I refer to your recent article dated May 2016 by Graham Mole concerning almshouse residents.
As the representative body for independent almshouse charities throughout the UK, we would strongly refute the claims made in this article. Almshouses charities provide homes for over 35,000 people throughout the UK for those in need. Their weekly contributions (which are not classified as rent) broadly equate to two thirds of market values, and adhere to guidance provided by the Valuation Office. Since alms persons are by definition in need, a high proportion are in receipt of housing benefit, and trustees take great care to avoid hardship, especially for those that are self-funded. Almshouse Charities are independent charities regulated by the Charity Commission and governed by locally recruited, voluntary trustees. It is exceptionally rare for an appointment to be set aside, and in such circumstances, residents have the opportunity to have their case heard in the County Court. The Almshouse Association has a formal partnership with the Charity Commission, and provides detailed guidance for trustees on best practice. It places the wellbeing of residents at the forefront of its priorities. Over 95% of almshouse charities are members of the Association and in our experience, the vast majority of these charities deliver a very high standard of accommodation at a very affordable cost.
Anthony De Ritter, Director, The Almshouse Association