The Future of Social Housing | Free Word

26 November 2019
18:30 21:00-

Presented by:
Free Word and Shelter


A fun workshop with poetry, films and discussions on ways to achieve better social housing

Our country is in the middle of a housing emergency. Failure to provide enough social homes is the root cause of the housing emergency. Yet the number of social homes being built is at its lowest for 70 years with over one million households on the waiting list. We need to fix the broken housing system.

In this interactive event with Shelter, we explore our vision for social housing in the future through a series of spoken word performances, creative activations and informal discussions with both Shelter and special guests.

We kick off the night with powerful spoken word from poet and campaigner Kojo Apeagyei. You will then have the freedom to roam between different stations in the room, watch some short films, hear from award-winning author Luan Goldie and engage with The Outside Project (the first dedicated LGBTQI+ crisis and community centre based in Clerkenwell).

You will also have the chance to take part in an informal panel with a short Q&A. The speakers all have direct experience of homelessness or housing issues, and include Shelter’s Senior Public Affairs Officer, poet Kojo Apeagyei, founder of The Outside Project Carla Ecola, and Liza Begum who’s leading a 180k petition against the Duke of Westminster to defend her communities homes.

This event is open to everyone with an interest in social housing. We invite you to ask questions, share your experiences and learn more about how you can get involved in Shelter’s campaigns.


Shelter helps millions of people every year struggling with bad housing or homelessness through advice, support, legal services, and campaigning. Shelter has campaigned relentlessly to tackle the root causes of the housing crisis, forcing the government to pass the Fitness for Human Habitation Bill, challenging the law to prevent revenge evictions, and leading the ban on letting fees.

The £2 fee for this event is a donation to guarantee entry. All of the funds will be donated to Shelter service hubs who provide advice, support and legal services.

Sierra Leonean food, including vegan options, will be available to buy on the evening, provided by The Krio Kanteen.


Season branding: THREAD Design | Photography: David Ryder Prangley

26 November 2019
18:30 - 21:00

Free Word and Shelter


Ami McCarthy


Ami McCarthy is a Senior Public Affairs Officer at Shelter, having previously worked as a policy advisor to a political party within Parliament. Ami has direct personal experience of street homelessness. Speaking from her experience of working with government she will discuss the critical need for more social housing and why we are campaigning for 3.1 million social homes to be built over the next 20 years.

Kojo Apeagyei

Poet and Campaigner

Kojo Apeagyei can be described as an experimental writer who lives within the space between prose and poetry. Fusing combinations of philosophy, poetry, politics and lyrical potency into an esoteric concoction of critical self-analysis. As a former campaigner at Shelter, Kojo often speaks about the ongoing housing crisis, and his personal experiences battling this brutal system. Touching upon ‘hidden homelessness’ and the effects of prolonged housing instability on the welfare of countless lives across the country. Nominated for the Young People's Laureate For London, he has also featured and headlined at various festivals across the country. Performing via an interesting mix of light-hearted comedy, interlaced with darkly-captivating topics.

Carla Ecola

Outreach Worker

Carla Ecola is a homelessness outreach worker with lived experience of homelessness herself. Carla founded The Outside Project - a shelter and crisis centre set up by LGBTIQ+ colleagues, friends & activists working in the Homeless sector to reach those more at risk of rough sleeping & bring together our community so that marginalised groups do not feel left ‘outside’. Launching at Pride in 2017 the centre is a cultural & artistic hub, offering safe daytime refuge & cafe space alongside queer led services, pop-up businesses & co-working space for marginalised groups.

Liza Begum

Community Organiser

Liza Begum is an NHS worker and community organiser. In early 2019 she started a campaign against the Duke of Westminster’s property group, Grosvenor, to stop the demolition of the Walden and Cundy estate - blocks of both social housing and privately rented homes that have housed a whole community for decades. Her petition against the UK’s richest landlord has gained over 180,000 signatures and the campaign has received national media coverage.

Luan Goldie


Luan Goldie was born in Glasgow but has lived in East London for most of her life. She is a primary school teacher, and formerly a business journalist. Her debut novel Nightingale Point (HarperCollins) follows a community on a large council estate as they go through an unexpected tragedy and rebuild their lives. It was met with critical acclaim and picked by BBC Radio 2 for Jo Whiley’s summer book club 2019. She is also a contributor to Resist: Stories of Uprising (Comma Press) for her story ‘The Done Thing’ which is inspired by the women’s strikes at Ford Dagenham. In 2018 she won the short story prize at the Costa Book Awards for ‘Two Steak Bakes and Two Chelsea Buns’. Her short stories have also been long and short listed by Spread the Word and the Grazia/Women’s Prize First Chapter competition.

'Sleeping Rough'

Short film by Owain Astles

Sleeping Rough is a community-based film about street homelessness in the UK, produced with the support of The Big Issue Foundation and Cardboard Citizens. Using real interviews conducted with rough sleepers and members of the homeless community all around the country, the film is a docudrama that follows three characters, looking at the circumstances that force each of them to sleep on the street.

'Home Stream'

Short film by Giulia Gandini

Giulia Gandini won the 2018 #TweetaPitch competition organised by the We The Peoples film festival. She used her £500 bursary to make a film about the life of homeless people. After rebuffs by several, she met Lily Blackham, homeless for a year and a half. Giulia gave her a phone for three days to tell her story. Giulia received help also from BFI Future Film.



There is step-free access to all areas of Free Word and a number of other facilities available to make the venue accessible. 

  • Our box office, theatre and hall are all on the ground floor with step-free access from the street
  • Meeting rooms and offices are accessible by lift from the ground floor
  • There are two accessible toilets on the ground floor. All our toilets are individual, gender neutral cubicles
  • The hearing loop will not be available for this event
  • The foyer and café areas are our designated quiet spaces – if you need to leave the event at any time, you’re welcome to use these areas
  • If you need to bring someone for assistance, please get in touch with us so we can provide a free ticket for them

Please talk to our team if you have specific access requirements.