What Does Home Mean to You?

Celebrities and lifestyle influencers join St Mungo’s clients to share their thoughts on what home means to them as part of new women’s homelessness campaign.

Cerys Matthews, actors Julie Hesmondhalgh and Victoria Emslie, and comedian Andi Osho are joining forces with clients of St Mungo’s and a host of lifestyle bloggers and influencers to highlight what home means to them to mark International Women’s Day 2019 (Friday 8 March).

According to the latest figures, 642 women sleep rough on any one night in England. Women sleeping rough are more likely than men to need support for mental health problems, and a third of St Mungo’s female clients said that domestic abuse contributed to their homelessness.

Many other homeless women are ‘hidden’ because they are not sleeping rough but are experiencing homelessness in a different way – seeking shelter with abusive partners, squatting or sofa surfing with friends and family – so may not be counted in official statistics.

Homelessness charity St Mungo’s is calling on people to get involved in its What Does Home Mean to You? legacy fundraising campaign, by taking a short online quiz and sharing what home means to them on #WhatHomeMeans. Supporters including Matthews, Hesmondhalgh, Emslie and Osho will be taking to Instagram and Facebook to talk about what home means to them throughout the day.

Catherine Glew, Women’s Strategy Manager at St Mungo’s, said: “While sleeping rough is dangerous for everyone, women sleeping rough carry the added burden of gender-based violence before, during and after their time on the streets. Hiding from harm can mean that women are hidden from help, and missing from homelessness services and statistics.

“Still more women aren’t getting the support they need because their homelessness is hidden from view – they are relying on informal, insecure sofa surfing arrangements with friends or family.

“We want to make sure that nobody is left behind – or feels too unsafe to ask for help. That’s why we’re asking everyone to help us mark International Women’s Day by getting involved in our campaign and raising awareness of women’s homelessness.”

Julie Hesmondhalgh is supporting the campaign, she said: “Home for me has always been a place of safety, sanctuary and refuge. Whatever life throws at me, I can always go home after a hard day and feel secure again, and warm. When I’ve had a good day, I can go home and celebrate with the people that I love. I don’t think that that should be a luxury. I think that that should be a basic human right for each and every one of us. I’m very proud to support St Mungo’s campaign, and I urge you to do so too.”

Cerys Matthews is also backing the campaign and shared what home means to her. She said: “To me, home is warmth, paper and a pen, safety and a voice to use them.”

Andi Osho explained why she wanted to get involved: “For most of us, home is a place of safety and comfort, and it’s easy to take that for granted. But, hidden from view, hundreds of women are finding themselves with no choice but to sleep on the streets, often after fleeing a violent or abusive home. Please get involved in St Mungo’s campaign and help raise awareness of women’s homelessness by sharing what home means to you. Everyone deserves somewhere safe to call home.”

Shineze lives in a St Mungo’s women-only project. She said: “I found myself on the streets because of a family breakdown. I’ve been to multiple hostels run by different organisations where they’ve been mixed in gender, and I’ve never really been able to settle properly.

“After coming to St Mungo’s, I felt supported, understood, and listened to. I also feel empowered by the strong women that surround me at the hostel; they’ve all been through so much and I feel like I can learn so much from them.

“If it wasn’t for St Mungo’s, I could still be on the streets today. Living in this women’s hostel, with all the support that I have been given, has dramatically changed my life. I feel inspired to continue studying, regain my independence and move on from my experiences of homelessness.”

Leaving a legacy is a special way to support more people experiencing homelessness off the streets, and to help end homelessness for good. The campaign also aims to highlight the importance of gifts in wills and encourages people to think about how their legacy can make a difference for the future.

Find out more at and share what home means to you.

Today, St Mungo’s is also launching its new women’s strategy outlining the charity’s commitments to improve services for women and influence policy on women’s homelessness.