Stonewall Housing's weekly drop-in
I’m Nick, and I work for Stonewall Housing. For several years now, we have been fortunate to have the use of one of the meeting rooms at Origin’s Eversholt Street office for one of our weekly drop-in surgeries, open to all LGBT people, not just Origin residents.
Stonewall Housing is a small organisation (15 staff) providing housing advice and support to LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans) people across London (you may have heard of Stonewall, the LGBT equalities organisation – we are not them!). We try to be the go-to people for all LGBT Londoners who have a question, or a problem, related to their housing, or their lack of housing. We offer advice about negotiating local authorities, tenancy issues, neighbour disputes, and pretty much anything related to any of these things. Between us, we have a lot of experience and knowledge of the Housing Sector, and also first-hand experience of the problems and issues that come up specifically for LGBT people.
We have an Advice Line open every weekday morning from 10am to 1pm, and we run two drop-ins every week, on Wednesday afternoons at Origin's Eversholt Street office, and on Friday afternoons at London Friend in Kings Cross, where people can come in and talk to one of us face-to-face.
You might be wondering why LGBT people need to have a housing advice service just for them. Well, the reason we are here (and we have been here for 35 years) is that there is a need amongst LGBT communities for services that are, to use a general (if not altogether accurate) term, gay friendly, and this includes housing. Even though all organisations are now required to be inclusive of LGBT people, the day-to-day experience of many people is that both homophobia and transphobia are prevalent in many organisations, and most LGBT people would choose to approach organisations who understand them and have an insight into what they have experienced.
Two issues that come our way sadly too often are homelessness as a result of families rejecting members who are LGB or T, and domestic abuse. We can offer a very limited amount of accommodation with support to young people who are homeless because they have been thrown out of their home (but unfortunately, much less than there is a need for), and we have a dedicated domestic abuse worker who will try to find housing solutions for people who have had to flee their home. We also offer an advocacy service for people who have difficulty negotiating the complexities of accessing housing through local authorities, or who need to have their voices heard by landlords and housing associations.
The drop-in takes place every Wednesday between 2pm and 3.30pm at Origin Housing, St Richard’s House, 110 Eversholt Street, London NW1 1BS.