“Before we moved in to St Clement’s, we were living with my (Ruman’s) parents, brother and sister. There were 6 of us all in one flat. My wife (Humayra) and I shared a room whilst we had a baby on the way. It was not easy to live as a family within a family – it meant my wife felt like a stranger in her own home. The situation got so difficult that Humayra wouldn’t have breakfast until 4 in the afternoon as she just wasn’t comfortable going in to a kitchen that wasn’t her own. When I found this out, it left me heartbroken. I wanted to protect my family, and I had failed. Every day I would come home from work, and I’d see her face, and it had dropped a little more. When I met Humayra, she had this amazingly optimistic outlook on life but, by that point, her whole world shrunk to just one room. I realised we had to do something; we had to find our own place.
We figured there were 3 options: either buy our own home, get a council flat or rent privately. We tried to buy a home on the open market and worked really hard to find somewhere. We visited places across east London and realised we just couldn’t afford what we needed. We tried council housing by signing up and bidding for homes for months on end but with no luck. We looked at renting privately but we would have been spending almost two thirds of our income on rent. Our savings would have been decimated after just one year. Out of sheer desperation for our family’s well being, we were ready to do it and see if we could hold out until the council helped us find a home we could actually afford.
Then, an email popped up in my inbox. I was already a member of London CLT, and the email said the homes at St Clement’s were now available! I wasn’t 100% sure what it was all about, so I went to a workshop at Darul Ummah and it sounded like exactly what we’d hoped for: a home of our own! We filled in the form, and waited until a week after Yunus was born, when got an email saying we were shortlisted for a CLT home. Still trying to manage our hopes, Humayra and I turned up to the panel with 3 week old Yunus and were told just days afterwards, we’d got a home at St Clement’s. We were thrilled!
I remember the day we moved in well – my whole extended family turned up. It was pouring with rain but I was beaming inside. There is so much space! I feel really lucky we get to own our own home – it has changed my family’s life. There was a moment the other day when Humayra, Yunus and I were in the flat, and my dad came over. He sat on the sofa with his arms spread out and he burst out into singing some sort of oldy goldy traditional Bengali song. My dad only sings when he is feeling the happiest he’s felt in years. That’s how you know when dad’s happy; he doesn’t smile, he sings. When you have that sense of space, it opens up your mind. He felt that, and he had to let it out.
Now we have a home. Humayra has space. Yunus has space. I have space. We are happy.”
**Since Humayra and Ruman moved in, Humayra has given birth to a baby girl who was born at St Clement’s. This is the first baby born in a London CLT home!