Prince William visits homelessness charity in Belfast as he continues tour of the UK with his new initiative Homewards
- Prince of Wales has taken inspiration from Finland with his new campaign
- Read More: Carrying on Diana’s legacy: Prince William announces new five-year campaign to end homelessness in the UK
Prince William has arrived in Belfast as part of his UK tour to mark the launch of his new initiative Homewards.
The Prince of Wales, 41, has set his sights on making rough sleeping, sofa surfing and other forms of temporary accommodation a ‘rare, brief and unrepeated’ issue.
The royal has taken inspiration from Finland, where the problem of homelessness has been virtually eradicated, with his new initiative called Homewards.
William’s new five-year project will focus on six locations to begin with and local businesses, organisations and individuals will be encouraged to join forces and develop ‘bespoke’ action plans to tackle homelessness with up to £500,000 in funding.
After visiting Mosaic Clubhouse in Lambeth yesterday, the royal has travelled to Northern Ireland to learn more about the work of the East Belfast Mission.
Pictured: Prince William meets initial members of the coalition being built through Homewards, as together they start on the path towards ending homelessness in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is the fourth of six locations across the UK that the Homewards initiative will initially focus on.
The father-of-three appeared in great spirits as he arrived at the headquarters and warmly shook hands with a representative of the charity.
Braving the rain this morning, the Prince of Wales was dressed in a pair of navy chinos, a light blue shirt and a cream blazer.
During the visit, Prince William will meet charity workers who have been asked to form a coalition with Homewards.
The East Belfast Mission offers a range of support for communities across Belfast – with a key area of their work concerning the growing issue of homelessness in the city.
Today, Prince William will learn about their ‘240’ housing project – which has seen the East Belfast Mission turn an empty building into a community relations space, which also contains six apartments.
Yesterday, the Prince of Wales also visited the Hill Street Development – which will be partnering up with Homewards – in Newport, Wales.
The future king has become increasingly passionate about the issue of homelessness in the UK – having been first taken to visit the charity The Passage by his late mother Princess Diana.
Prince William seen meeting with members of the East Belfast Mission today as part of his campaign to end homelessness in the UK
Prince of Wales was dressed in a pair of navy chinos, a light blue shirt and a cream blazer as he braved the rain
The Prince of Wales at the Skainos Centre in Belfast, as part of his tour of the UK to launch a project aimed at ending homelessness
The Prince of Wales pictured arriving at the Hill Street Development in Newport yesterday afternoon
The royal (pictured) has taken inspiration from Finland, where the problem of homelessness has been virtually eradicated, with his new initiative called Homewards
The Prince of Wales seen meeting charity workers at the Hill Street Development in Newport yesterday
The Prince of Wales has become increasingly passionate about the issue of homeless ness in the UK
Announcing his new project on Sunday, the Prince of Wales: ‘In a modern and progressive society, everyone should have a safe and secure home, be treated with dignity and given the support they need.
‘Through Homewards, I want to make this a reality and over the next five years, give people across the UK hope that homelessness can be prevented when we collaborate.’
Ahead of the campaign launch, Prince William met with footballers David Duke and Tyrone Mings, firefighter Sabrina Cohen-Hatton and TV star Gail Porter – who have all experienced homelessness.
He continued: ‘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.’
Prince William pictured with Tyrone Mings, Sabrina Cohen-Hatton, Gail Porter and David Duke – who have experiences of homelessness and have pledged to support Homewards
The six chosen areas, which includes one in London, were selected after a bidding process and the findings and results of the initiative will be used to create models that can adopted by other parts of the UK.
According to the charity Crisis, which is partnering with Homewards, there are an estimated 300,000 people currently experiencing homelessness in the UK.
The charity’s chief executive Matt Downie cited a ‘severe shortage of genuinely affordable homes,’ rising rents, the increasing cost of living, years of low wages and insecure work as some of the factors which have contributed to this issue.
He said: ‘Homelessness is not inevitable, as a provider of services to thousands of people across Britain every year.
‘We know that in most cases it’s preventable, and in every case it can be ended.”
‘The best way to tackle homelessness is to stop it happening in the first place. We’ve seen it in other countries such as Finland, where homelessness is all but ended, and we’ve seen it when we follow innovative programmes that give people housing first.
‘We know we can do the same here with the right choices and by working together.
‘With levels of homelessness only set to increase innovative programmes like Homewards are more necessary than ever.’
A new survey commissioned by the Royal Foundation revealed one in five of 3,473 adults questioned in May have some personal experience of homelessness either directly (9%) or via family (8%) or friends (7%).
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