Meet the team: Lizwe
Meet Lizwe, one of our amazing Housing Officers in our ACH Birmingham office. He has many years of housing experience and is passionate about expanding the reach of ACH, so our refugee resettlement services are recognised more nationally.
What did you do before coming to ACH?
I previously worked for the England Church Housing Group in East Yorkshire as a project worker. At the time they provided a 12 bed hostel for homeless young people aged 16-25. I then relocated to the West Midlands and joined Midland’s Heart as a resettlement officer. I led the Snowhill Project, an over 25 project, working with the homeless, refugees, drug and those effected by alcohol misusage. We would handle the resettlement of these individuals, signposting them to local agencies, assisting them with college applications and helping them to sort out their benefits. Thereafter I enrolled with Birmingham City University and completed a BA Honours in Professional Housing Studies. Subsequently, I worked with Saint Basils Housing Association as a housing officer and later Trident Housing Association for 3 years. Finally, I then joined ACH in October 2018.
Why did you decide to come to ACH?
My reasoning for joining ACH is because I saw how the organisation was growing and I wanted to be part of the team to expand it. I knew coming from a refugee background I wanted to give back and help others improve and progress their lives. I have enjoyed my journey so far with ACH.
What project/area are you working on for us?
I am a housing officer in the Birmingham housing team. We currently have 43 houses and 245 units which are divided between 2 housing officers. Our main job is to look at assessments and then interview potential tenants. We then will take them to view the property and sign them up, as well as helping them to claim benefits. We have some of our tenants on universal credit and some who are in employment. Our role is also to look at our monthly income, making sure all our tenants are paid correctly and if they aren’t, following that up with the council and the tenants. At the end of month, we create a report for financial purposes. We also do home visits to deal with any anti-social behaviour.
What is it that you want to achieve?
I would like for ACH to continue growing within the region, so we can move to other cities and town such as Dudley and Sandwell. As well as for us to have continued growth in the West Midlands and I would personally help to manage that growth.
What is the proudest moment in your career?
The proudest moment in my career was running the Youth Education through Sport (YES) programme. I am a qualified football coach and drama teacher and used my knowledge to contribute to the programme. This is my proudest moment, as it was very fulfilling to help young people to transform from idle life to gaining experience in drama and sports. All in all, turning their talents into careers and moving away from drug and violence.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
In 5 years I see myself managing one of ACH’s projects, or moving into a managerial role.