Prince William declared he is pleased to be at the “start of our path to ending” rough sleeping and temporary accommodation as he launched the Homewards campaign during a visit to Lambeth, south London, on Monday and recalled how his beloved mum used to take him on official visits to homelessness organisations from a young age.
He said: “My first visit to a homelessness shelter was when I was 11, with my mother. The visits we made left a deep and lasting impression.
“I met so many extraordinary people and listened to so many heart-breaking personal stories.
“Too many people have found themselves without a stable and permanent place to call home.”
The 41-year-old royal – who is patron of homelessness charities Centrepoint and The Passage – hailed Homewards a “unique opportunity” that he hopes will have a major impact.
He said: “Over the next five years, I believe that we have a unique opportunity to develop innovative new solutions and scale tangible impact.
“This will inspire belief throughout the UK – and beyond – that homelessness can be ended for good.”
The five-year project will initially focus on six locations and will see local business, organisations and individuals encouraged to team up to tackle the issue, with up to £500,000 of funding available to deliver a housing project.
William – who is undergoing a two-day UK tour to launch the project – said: “I am fortunate to have seen first-hand the tireless work of people and organisations across the sector, the tangible impact their efforts can have and what can be done when communities are able to focus on preventing homelessness, rather than managing it.
“It’s a big task, but I firmly believe that by working together it is possible to make homelessness rare, brief, and unrepeated and I am very much looking forward to working with our six locations to make our ambition a reality.”