SVP:spending record amounts helping people in poverty

This unfortunetly is only the start of things. The chickens of lax lending and crazy borrowing are starting to come home to roost. It seems to tie in with what’s been seen here .

The warnings from the Money Advice and Budgeting Service, from as far back as 2001, that the citizens of Ireland inc have been developing a poor middle class are starting to ring true.

Blue Horseshoe

Why are SVP giving money to people who can’t afford their mortgage repayments?

Because they don’t understand the term “moral hazard”, along with Bono and others.

A very good question.

A mortage isn’t a basic necessity. If people can’t pay for basic necessities they need to cut back on things that aren’t necessary. Surely this is a fairly simple thing to grasp.

If SVP are handing out charity but not educating people on how to reduce their need for charity, then it’s no wonder that SVP ends up handing out greater and greater amounts each year.

A family on a mortgage can pretty much half their accomodation bill by renting. Do SVP explain this?

SVP have always been high on the list of people that I don’t mind giving money to, but this story has me rethinking that. How do I know my cash isn’t going towards someone who only needs charity because they want to own a house rather than rent for half the price?

If they are helping people who are getting stuck in negative equity, then they are effectively transfering money from the giving public into the bank accounts of lenders like Start. they are using money that could be spent on people in real need, to prop up the lending industry.


Hey - not being able to afford a 3 bed semi in New Ireland is poverty.

News like this makes me rethink the charities I want to give money to.

Shall we put this to SVP and see how they respond?

I would be interested.

I would predict the same response as the one I get when I regularly disparage Bono’s drop the debt campagin.

“You heartless neo-con”


I stopped giving to the SVP two years ago when I heard a spokesman on Matt Cooper who basically said they don’t really pry and ask people what the money is really for. He admitted plenty of people are probably undeserving of the money the SVP gives them. Unreal.

I’ve ended up with a short enough list of charities I’ll donate to with ignoring faith based/influenced charities and ones who I think mismange donations like the SVP.

I think the SVP do excellent work. I don’t think they should be written off entirely just yet.

I would favour the SVP helping to pay the mortgage (say in the event of the bread-winner losing their job/having an accident/having a health problem) of a struggling family for a couple of months – particularly families with children and/or persons in a poor state of health.

I would generally agree that paying someone’s mortgage indefinitely, when renting is clearly cheaper is not a valid way to spend donors’ money (in my opinion). However, I think the SVP should analyse each situation on a case-by-case basis, and try to optimise the benefit to the recipient given the available resources.

It’s not very charitable to turn around to a family and say: “You have to sell your house and rent somewhere else while you look for a new job. It’s SVP policy not to contribute towards your mortgage – we will however contribute towards your rent”. Clearly it’s of far greater charitable benefit to keep the family in their home, improve their situation and get them back on a level footing.

There is a grey area in all this: how long does a charity pay someone’s mortgage? Best leave it to organisations like the SVP to assess this on a case-by-case basis – they are a capable organisation and have a proven track-record. Volunteerism is at the heart of the SVP – they are extremely conscious of achieving value for money with the limited funds they have available. I would have 100% faith in the SVP.

Excellent post

I agree.

People with mortgages aren’t the people I expect to benefit from my charitable donations. Full stop. Now I only support secular charities so this isn’t something that affects me as a donor.

Banks can and will show some understanding with regard to payments, missing one or two won’t be fatal.

for someone who is secular this seems Very Moralistic…

a little short sighted and almost victorian in it’s puritanical nature…

Surely from a purely practical point of view it’s better to help a family with a Mortgage before they go over the brink of poverty and destitution rather than waiting until their lives have been altered to an extent that they are truly impoverished.

It’s a bit like a charity refusing help to someone beause they Drink…

Charity in my view is giving to people less fortunate than ourselves because we understand how we could easily end up in the same position…

I’d say the SVP would be better off saving their money, they will need it over the next few years. Not being able to afford the mortgage on you 300k house is not the same and being unable to cloth and feed your children.

I think you’re missing the point.

SVP is not paying peoples mortgages, or paying peoples rent for that matter. The original story suggests (to me anyway) that SVP are having to help more and more people with basic needs (food, clothes etc), because they don’t have enough left after paying their mortgage.

I don’t think we’re talking here about the occasional family falling behind on their mortgage because they lose their job or are struck down by illness. Of course such people should be helped, although I’d have to ask why it falls to charities, surely the PRSI contributions paid while working entitle families to a state sponsored safety net. Otherwise what are we paying for?

The clear implication from the SVP is that they are having to help ordinary families with basic needs because their mortgage payment is too high, and they don’t have enough left to live on. This is not a tollerable situation, and isn’t the domain of charities.

I suspect the root cause here is people who were not stress tested enough against interest rate increases, or who mislead their mortgage lender, by borrowing deposits/stamp duty from Credit Unions etc.

Again, not an area SVP should be getting involved in. Although I understand why SVP are getting involved. They are a great charity and I believe their ethos would be along the lines of “we don’t care how you got into this mess, we’re here to help”.

There’s a lot to be said for that kind of ethos, but it does pose problems if your doners are not as understanding, and decide that some recipients aren’t as deserving as others.

Interesting times.


SVP simply dont give out money to pay for stuff! The main focus of their work is listening ear and comforting words. Furthermore in cases where people need financial assistance, advice is given on proactive solutions like MABS(Money advice bureau) to help them work their bills out with this semi state body, so their heating is not turned off. People dont understand that the people who seek assistance from SVP are those mostly on the margins of society. Former drug addicts, former alcoholics pulling their lives together. Former inmates and rehabiliated people pulling their lives together. SVP dont have the funds/resources to pay peoples mortgages. SVP primarily issue food vouchers for Dunnes Stores. On rare occasions monetary assistance is given on a once off basis but this is done in conjuction with fiancial advisors from MABS in helping people fix their financial woes. Also, most people who receive assistance have subsidised rent accomdation and social housing and dont generally pay mortgages, but there are of course exceptions. SVP do brilliant work not seen by the general masses and every penny helps in this work.

Tom the problem is that SVP have over the past few years been trying hard to convince the public that they are having to help more and more “average” people, rather than those on the fringe.

An example being the story that started this thread.

MABS have released similar statements, stating that an increasing number of the people who approach them for help are proffesionals with good incomes.

SVP and MABS are probably highlighting this in the hopes of starting a proper dialogue about the working poor and the squeezingof the middle class. They might even hold out a hope that something can be done about it.

But an unintended consequence might be a questioning by doners of who their donation is going to.

I wan’t my SVP donation to go to precisely the people you described in your post.


Fair points all. I was hasty in saying that.

Just a little backround…

Typically when a collection takes place, say for example in Foxrock. The money isnt re-distributed in Foxrock. All the funds are collected into one bank account and then divided up amongst the local conferences with the biggest needs. For example, in Summerhill, probably the poorest part of the country in places, would have the highest need to assistance and place like Howth would have relatively zero **financial **need.

That is traditionally how it works. But to answer your question…

SVP has always helped people who need assistance, no matter what their backround. Families with three kids and the main income earner might die unexpectedly, suddenly a family like that may need SVP support like contributing a few small hundred euro towards a mortgage as a once off. this might keep the wolf off the door for a few weeks until the family are assited in making other arrangements to either find a new place and get their lives together or whatever. the ultimate objective is a stable financial assistance without the need of SVP financial assistance.

so when stressed mortgage payers hear people saying “SVP are paying peoples mortgages with my money”, it is vastly twisted. In any case, this is still a small part of the work that SVP do. The MAJORITY of the work is in the marginal areas of our society.