Prince William convinced homelessness ‚can be ended‘ | Royal | News


Prince William will visit Lambeth in south London today, where last June he launched his five-year plan to tackle homelessness in the UK – putting a stop to the social issue before it happens.

The project, which received £3m of funding from his Royal Foundation, focuses on six flagship locations: Aberdeen, Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole, Lambeth, Newport, Northern Ireland and Sheffield.

The Homewards team spent the first 12 months building collaborations between the public, private and third sectors before introducing an action plan in each location in its second year.

Marking the project’s progress today, the Prince is expected to say: “It’s fantastic to be back in Lambeth, where a year ago we launched Homewards and began our journey of working together to demonstrate that it is possible to end homelessness…

“Homelessness is a complex societal issue, and one that touches the lives of far too many people in our society. However, I truly believe that it can be ended.”

William’s dedication to tackling homelessness reflects his understanding of the „trauma“ experienced by rough sleepers, an official advocate for the project has suggested.

Sabrina Cohen-Hatton, chief fire officer for West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, who experienced homelessness as a teenager said: „He understands trauma… He can see echoes of it in himself I think, from that experience of trauma and how it affects you and how it affects the way you see things.“

Ms Cohen-Hatton slept rough intermittently for two years from the age of 15 in her home town of Newport, South Wales after family life broke down following the death of a parent, and she credits selling the Big Issue magazine as providing the funds and confidence to break the cycle.

She said that it is difficult to access support while homeless and hails Homewards for trying to prevent it before it happens.

„When you’re experiencing the constant threat and the danger from the people around you, when you don’t have enough to eat let alone enough to think, it’s really hard to reach out and to take those services,” she said.

William is understood to be in almost daily contact with Homewards‘ senior management and has been welcoming advocates like broadcaster Gail Porter and Ms Cohen-Hatton to Windsor Castle for discussions.

Each location will publish action plans that reflect their needs, with Aberdeen targeting homelessness caused by relationship breakdown, and Sheffield focusing on young people and families.

Homewards hopes that the bespoke solutions identified in each of the six flagship areas can be replicated across the UK.

The project has been backed by major companies, such as Pret a Manger, Ikea and Homebase, which recently pledged £1million of support.

Today’s event comes after Kensington Palace announced the prince will feature in an ITV documentary about Homewards.

The two-part series, which has the working title Prince William: We Can End Homelessness, will go behind the scenes of the first year of the programme.



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