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Behind the Door

Behind the Door is our campaign to change the way we think about homelessness, and to support our partners at the London Homeless Collective. Help us reach £100k by donating to the Campaign today.

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Together we can make a difference

The Museum of the Home is partnering with the London Homeless Collective to help tackle this increasing but under-resourced problem. We need your help to succeed in our collective goal of ending female homelessness.

Our goals

  • Shift perceptions about what homelessness is and challenge deep-set prejudices in surprising ways 

  • Raise £100,000 to achieve these objectives, and to support our partners at London Homeless Collective 

  • Raise awareness of the unique issues faced by women and families experiencing homelessness in the UK 

  • Collaborate with our partners and, with your help, find solutions to female homelessness 

  • Bring together key stakeholders to develop a pan-London strategy to tackle homelessness of women and children. 

What have we achieved so far?

Raised £68,000 through our online auctions

Our lots included kind donations from Luke Edward Hall, Skye McAlpine, Maya Njie, Zandra Rhodes, Matches Fashion, Anya Hindmarch, Faye Toogood, Studio DeGournay, New Craftsmen, and Catarina Riccabona. 


Hosted our inaugural Festival of Home

An exciting weekend exploring ideas of belonging, what belonging looks like at home, who's granted belonging and where people belong. With talks, workshops and performances across the Museum site, featuring Emma Dabiri, Onjali Q. Raúf, Nikesh Shukla, The Bitten Peach and Valerie Bloom. More about the speakers, performers and artists


Supported the opening of the Marylebone Project 

The Marylebone Project is London's first 24-hour drop-in centre for women, and we are very proud to have played a part in its launch. 


Behind the Door Winter Auction 

Between 29 November to 1 December 2022, supporters bid in our Winter Auction for exclusive experiences and stunning designer pieces donated by leading UK designers and creatives.


Raised £25,000 through our first ever Yard Sale 


Increased awareness through our panel series Home Truths


Home Truths: Why women why now?

We discussed the impact of homelessness on women and families, why this is often invisible and what we can do to challenge perceptions and raise awareness. 

Chaired by Aditi Anand, Head of Creative Content at the Migration Museum Panel. With participants: 

  • Camilla Field from the Marylebone Project 
  • Eleanor Greenhalgh from The Connection at St Martin's and Solace Women's Aid 
  • Lucy Littlewood, director of partnerships at the Museum of the Home 
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Home Truths: Who's holding the baby?

We explored the existing benefits system in the UK and the multiple ways in which single parents are affected by austerity. 

Chaired by Katie Razzall, UK Editor, BBC Newsnight. With participants: 

  • Polly Braden, Artist, Holding the Baby 
  • Sally Williams, Writer, Holding the Baby 
  • Barbeline, Collaborator, Holding the Baby 
  • Victoria Benson, CEO, Gingerbread 
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Home Truths: In conversation with Hallie Rubenhold

The conversation examined the life experiences particularly those of homelessness, poverty and desperation that the five women killed by Jack the Ripper: Polly Walker, Annie Smith, Elizabeth Ericsson, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly experienced during the lead up to their deaths.

Through her research, Rubenhold shared how similar their experiences were to the current factors that lead many women to homelessness today. The reflection offered a chance to raise awareness of the many nuances that lead to homelessness and the tragic outcomes that it may present 

Hallie Rubenhold Crop Hallie Rubenhold

Home Truths: A note on the resilience of women in the face of crisis

Despite dire circumstances and not having stability or the safety of a home, many women manage to cope and build resilience. These women also become powerful activists. As such, we wish to celebrate them. Rather than centering on victimisation and vulnerabilities, we looked at women’s “strength and courage to overcome hardship in the face of crisis”.  

This session focussed on a viewing of Ellie Flynn’s Sex for Rent, examines the many shades of homelessness, and panel discussion with experts on homelessness, discussing the support systems of women homelessness services, lived experiences and inspirational stories of women who have become great advocates within their communities.  

  • Ellie Flynn, Journalist  
  • Pippa Hockton, Founder of Street Talk  
  • Debi Steven, Founder of Action Breaks Silence 
  • Laura Guy, Cripplegate Foundation  
  • Lucy Campbell, Single Homeless Project 
  • Jade Tate, Solace Women's Aid  
Ellie Flynn Crop Ellie Flynn

Why Behind the Door matters


  • Around one-fifth of young women have been sexually abused or exploited while out of stable accommodation (Depaul, 2018)
  • Women and young people (aged 16-24) tend to stay in 'hidden homeless' situations (e.g. sofa surfing) rather than access services (Homeless Link, 2019 p24)
  • Half of families without a permanent home are in work (Shelter, 2018)
Graphic showing 28% of people accessing hostels and homelessness accommodation in 2018/19 were women
Graphic showing only 10% of homelessness accommodation projects in England in 2018/19 were women-only

Now more than ever

Everyone deserves the dignity of a secure home. Together, we can put female homelessness on the agenda in London and make positive, lasting change.

Please donate now


Shifting perceptions

"When the general public thinks about homelessness, the image that comes to mind is often that of an older man who sleeps rough, but the issue is a lot more than that. With the Museum of the Home, we will be able to explore the homelessness that is happening every day in London, often behind closed doors, and often with women and families. It's a challenging thought, but one that we looking forward to exploring artistically and intelligently."
Rick Henderson, CEO of Homeless Link, on perceptions of homelessness


Stories of home and homelessness

A person looking towards the camera, with text overlaid that reads 'behind the door'
Settling after sleeping rough
A person looking to the left, with text overlaid that reads 'behind the door'
Not giving up
A person looking down, with text overlaid that reads 'behind the door'
Escape from abuse and county lines
A person looking over their shoulder, with text overlaid that reads 'behind the door'
Motivated to turn things around

Viv's experiences of home


Viv's home is in Elephant and Castle. She has lived in Elephant for 20 years. Before then she was living on the streets. 

Listen to Viv


Hear from Viv on Up With The Lark podcast, with contributions from Jermaine Gallacher and Lucy Littlewood, about the Behind the Door campaign supporting London's homeless women and families.

London Homeless Collective logo

About the London Homeless Collective

The Museum of the Home is proud to be partnering with the London Homeless Collective on this campaign.

The London Homeless Collective is a movement of more than 25 charities that help people experiencing homelessness in London. The member charities reflect London's rich tapestry; some are household names working across our city while others are much smaller and local or specialise in supporting specific groups.

We believe that by collaborating – sharing our ideas, experience and opportunities – we can achieve our collective ambition of ending homelessness in London.

London Homeless Collective member charities

Akt, Barons Court Project, The Big Issue Foundation, Caritas Anchor House, Centrepoint, Church Army, Crisis, DePaul UK, Evolve Housing, Glass Door, Homeless Action in Barnet, Homeless Link, Housing Justice, Kingston Churches Action on Homelessness, New Horizons Youth Centre, The Passage, Shelter, The Salvation Army, Shelter, shp, Spear, The Connection at St Martins-in-the-Fields, West London Mission, YMCA, 999 Club


How it works

100% of the funds raised will go towards the Behind the Door campaign, which will allocate support to each partner organisation. 70% will go to the Museum of the Home to curate exhibitions, festivals, talks, workshops and educational resources to raise awareness and change perceptions, with 30% to the London Homeless Collective to deliver frontline activities.

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