Dave Smith is the founder of two Manchester-based charities, The Mustard Tree (1993) and the Boaz Trust (2004). The Boaz Trust now manages 14 houses, a night shelter scheme and a hosting scheme. It accommodates around 50 destitute, refused asylum seekers and 20 refugees at any one time. Nearly all of the properties have been leased to the trust on a peppercorn rent. Boaz also supports and advocates for its residents. Over ten years the vast majority have gone on to be granted refugee status, and only three are known to have been deported.
In 2013 Dave was awarded the British Empire Medal for ‘Services to the Community’. Despite reservations he accepted it in good faith, and tried to engage with the government’s Big Society ideas. After a year of hitting a brick wall, Dave returned the BEM in protest at the ever-more draconian immigration legislation.
He published the ‘Book of Boaz’ in June 2014, which is a brief history of the charity. It is also a sharp critique of the asylum system, a call for justice and a challenge to the Church to get out of the pew and involved with the destitute and marginalised.
Dave coordinates NACCOM, the national ‘No Accommodation’ network, which comprises 31 groups across the UK accommodating destitute asylum seekers. It is in the process of applying for charitable status as a National Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO).