As part of our #noplacelikehome campaign, Holly (our Communications Manager) caught up with Say It Loud Club members to find out about their experiences with housing in the UK. Here, Holly speaks with Fiona, a Care Worker and an LGBTQ+ refugee who Say It Loud Club helped to find a flat of her own through our project with Notting Hill Genesis.
H: Hi Fiona! Can you start by saying a bit about yourself, and how you found Say It Loud Club?
F: My name is Fiona Nansasi. I came to UK in 2018 when I fled my home country Uganda because of my sexuality. I joined Say It Loud Club in July 2018 when I came across it on the Internet.
H: What was your housing situation when you first came to the UK?
F: When I got to UK, I didn't have a place to stay. I was thinking of staying on the street but as I was walking on the street I heard someone speaking my language. He was a gentleman whom I approached and narrated my situation. He told me that he has a family but he will help me as it was late for me to go to the Home Office, so he took me to his house and I spent the night with family. The next day I went to the Home Office.
Even so, I couldn't get housing from the government straight away as they told me they were congested. I went back to the family and stayed for a short time, then managed to stay with some of my friends from Say It Loud Club.
H: How have things changed now that you have refugee status?
F: I have my own place now which Say It Loud Club helped me to get. I am happy because I have a job as a carer and I can pay my rent and bills.
H: One good thing to come out of 2020! How was the rest the year for you?
F: The year 2020 has made everything very hard because of COVID-19, we can't meet anymore with friends from Say It Loud Club, you're on your own and lonely. I lost a job which I had just started as a Shop Assistant but I thank God that I managed to get a new job as a Care Worker.
H: Thanks so much for sharing your experiences, Fiona. A final question - if you could send a message to the government about housing for LGBTQ+ refugees, what would it be?
F: What I want the government to do is to change the way they accommodate refugees. Give them better housing but not to accommodate them in damp houses with rats...they are humans. My word to the people who control housing is that everybody - refugees, LGBT people and all - should be treated fairly as they are all human.