The initiative will see the museum work closely with the Collective, a movement of over 25 charities supporting people experiencing homelessness, to raise awareness and funds for the cause.
An initial two-year phase of the initiative will unite a range of partners to help facilitate the first ever pan-London strategy on ending female homelessness by 2025.
Challenging perceptions will be another integral strand of the project. “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,” notes Rick Henderson, CEO of Homeless Link. It is this entrenched idea that the campaign aims to change.
2020 has been an especially bad year for people’s circumstances conspiring to leave them without a home. It is estimated that every day in London alone over 60 families are made homeless and face the loss of a stable and secure home. This, evidence suggests, has been particularly evident among vulnerable women and families.
“The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has had a debilitating impact on women; the stark increase in cases of domestic violence, job insecurity and the impact of these pressures on mental health threatens to push many more into poverty and lead to homelessness,” explains Polly Neate, CEO of Shelter, a founding member of the London Homeless Collective.
“We have a responsibility to act to bring this hidden problem to the public’s attention and work together to support women and families.”
To complement the project’s grassroots work, the Museum of the Home will present a range of programming related to homelessness in 2021.
Sonia Solicari, the museum’s director, says it has “big ambitions to make a difference in people’s lives within the context of the Museum of the Home’s revised vision to reveal and rethink the meaning of home in order to live better together”.
Culture, she adds, can “bring about genuine dynamic change in new and exciting ways because it brings new audiences to old problems and gets people talking about issues they may otherwise choose to ignore”.
Vital to the initiative’s success is its fundraising. More information on the Behind the Door project and its donations procedure can be found here.