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. Uche is a Say It Loud Club Trustee, and was supported to find accommodation this year through our new housing partnership with Notting Hill Genesis.
H: Hi Uche, It's great to speak with you. Do you want to introduce yourself?
U: My name is Uche, I'm 40 years old and am from Nigeria. I came to the UK in 2012 because of my sexuality. I found Say It Loud Club on the internet, whilst searching for help around my sexuality. I was granted refugee status in the UK in 2019, and I now work in the construction industry at the moment as a dryliner.
H: And you also sit on our Board of Trustees!
U: That's right, I'm also a trustee at Say It Loud Club and am working on a few different projects, including our new Ambassador Programme.
H: Could you say a bit about your experiences with housing in the UK?
U: Previously I have live in a shared house, I have been homeless, and I have lived with friends, etc. During those periods it wasn't an easy experience because in some shared houses, not everyone wants to hear or know about LGBTQ+ people. I mostly hid my sexuality because I didn't know what might happen to my life if I shared it with those who I live with that dislike gay people.
H: Where are you living at the moment? I know you had some support from Say It Loud Club through our new housing project with Notting Hill Genesis.
U: I live on my own now, because before where I was living wasn't LGBTQ+ friendly which I found really hard. I spoke to Say It Loud Club, and Thelma - the Housing Project Manager - helped me to get a house with Notting Hill Genesis. I moved in June this year and since I moved to my new place I'm happy and safe.
H: That's great to hear! What do you think needs to happen for all LGBTQ+ refugees to have safe, comfortable housing like you do now?
U: I think that housing associations, councils and the government need to have policies that make more housing available for LGBTQ+ people.
H: I totally agree - thanks Uche! Do you have anything else that you want to add on this topic?
U: I also want to say that I think these housing issues for LGBTQ+ refugees are about society accepting us for who we are. People need to know more about us. It should be part of everyone's education.