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First Brick: the LGBTQ+ organisation fighting the London housing crisis

First Brick Housing was launched in 2021 with hopes to provide safe and affordable housing for LGBTQ+ people across London.

The member-owned organisation is currently fundraising to build community spaces and housing for LGBTQ+ people and those with aligned experiences of marginalisation.

The organisation is asking community members to complete a survey asking for what they want out of housing and community spaces.

Comprising a small group of queer people, the organisation’s members include renters, home owners and those with direct experience of homelessness. 

The group is structured around non-profit values, with an asset-lock ensuring that if First Brick ever ‘shut shop’, any assets would be passed onto other similar organisations with shared values and aspirations.

Brian Quinn, group volunteer, says First Brick is open-minded about the types of housing facilities it could provide.

“We want people to feel like they have somewhere safe to live where they can be creative and live comfortably.

If you have an overriding sense of insecurity and unsafety at home, then you can’t create community or think of what more housing could offer,” he said.

Group organiser Danny Hibbs-Woodings explained how queer housing has always been needed, but that many developers have been historically unwilling to listen.

He said: “Our community has spent decades just striving for the right just to live in properties.

“If you go back to the 1990s, gay men were being refused for mortgages due to their HIV-status.

“This is one of the first times where LGBTQ+ people haven’t just been asked about what they need, but what they want.”

A BRIGHT FUTURE: volunteers meet regularly to plan future steps

First Brick isn’t exclusively for LGBTQ+ people, welcoming anyone with similar experiences of stigma and discrimination to those faced by the LGBTQ+ community.

This could be someone who identifies as straight, but is HIV positive.

Danny explained: “These kinds of people are welcome in our spaces because they actively benefit from the kind of nurturing environment that we want to provide.

“It’s all about building housing that is safe, accessible and welcoming for residents.”

To fill out a First Brick survey to address your housing wants and needs, click here.

See here to donate to the group’s gofundmepage.

Image credit: First Brick

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