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Housing charity regulator appoints financial inspectors to Peter McVerry Trust

The housing and homelessness charity notified the regulator of ‘financial and governance’ issues at the organisation in July.

INSPECTORS HAVE BEEN appointed by a housing regulator following financial concerns raised at the Peter McVerry Trust.

The Approved Housing Bodies Regulatory Authority (AHBRA) said it appointed the inspectors to conduct a statutory investigation of the housing and homelessness charity.

A spokesperson told The Journal that it “identified concerns in relation to the organisation” having first been notified of a number of “financial and governance” issues by the charity in July.

When contacted, the Peter McVerry Trust said it contacted AHBRA because of “significant cashflow issues” and has been engaging with AHBRA since then.

“We can confirm that we received notice this afternoon of a decision by AHBRA to appoint inspectors to the charity,” a spokesperson for the trust said.

“This is an important part of transparency and accountability for our organisation, and we will work with the inspectors and AHBRA in the best interest of the over 2,000 service users and tenants as well as the staff that support them.”

AHBRA’s inspectors have been asked to prepare and submit a report on their investigation and findings – the regulator said it will not be making any further comment while the investigation is ongoing.

“It is important to note that the commencement of a statutory investigation is not in itself a finding of any wrongdoing,” a spokesperson for AHBRA said.

The trust was established in 1983 by Fr Peter McVerry, who had witnessed homelessness and deprivation in Dublin’s north inner-city in the years prior.

The charity’s latest annual report shows that it received €38,378,909 in State funding in 2021. It also received €14,875,168 in charity-generated revenue and capital funding.

In 2020, the charity received €29,957,357 in State funding.

Last month, the trust said it had notified the Department of Housing of “potential financial issues” at the charity.

At the time, the charity said it was experiencing “acute” cashflow pressures and said it was aware of  its obligations to “regulators and statutory funders to disclose challenges” when they arise.

In statement provided to The Journal, the Department of Housing said: 

“The Department’s role in relation to homelessness involves the provision of a national framework of policy, legislation and funding to underpin the role of local authorities in addressing homelessness at a local level.

“Statutory responsibility in relation to the provision of homeless services rests with individual housing authorities.”

The statement added that the AHBRA has notified the department that they have appointed inspectors to conduct an investigation into “the affairs of the Peter McVerry Trust pursuant to Section 46 of the Housing (Regulation of Approved Housing Bodies) Act 2019.”

“As a statutory process is underway, the Department will make no further comment.”

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