The 39-year-old royal admitted joining his mother, the late Princess Diana, at The Passage – a centre in London which supports people threatened by or experiencing homelessness and of which William is now patron – when he was just 11 years old inspired his own desire to tackle the issue and he hopes his three kids, Princes George, eight, and Louis, four, and Princess Charlotte, seven, will want to carry on with his work when they are older.
William – who is also patron of homelessness organisation Centrepoint, a role previously held by Diana – wrote in this week’s Big Issue magazine: “While I may seem like one of the most unlikely advocates for this cause, I have always believed in using my platform to help tell those stories and to bring attention and action to those who are struggling. I plan to do that now I’m turning 40, even more than I have in the past.
“So, for my part, I commit to continue doing what I can to shine a spotlight on this solvable issue not just today, but in the months and years to come.
“And in the years ahead, I hope to bring George, Charlotte and Louis to see the fantastic organisations doing inspiring work to support those most in need – just as my mother did for me.
“As she instinctively knew, and as I continue to try and highlight, the first step to fixing a problem is for everyone to see it for what it truly is.”
William, who caused a stir earlier this month when he went out to sell copies of The Big Issue in London – “refuses to believe” homelessness is an “irrevocable fact of life” and though a lot of organisations are working to help those on the streets, he thinks there is more to be done.
He wrote: “In the 30-odd years since [The Big Issue launched], I’ve seen countless projects in this space grow from strength to strength, including charities of which I have had the honour of being Patron. New initiatives have been launched up and down the country – some have worked, some have not. But The Big Issue, perhaps now the most immediately recognisable of these organisations, has undeniably had an impact. Its social business model has provided a means of making a living to 105,000 vendors who have earned over £144 million.
“ Looking back helps us to see how far we’ve come, but problems are fixed in the present. And despite all the progress, homelessness is still seen by many as some entrenched phenomenon over which we have little power. And there are worrying signs that things might soon get worse as people feel the effects of higher prices and find it harder to make ends meet.
“And although we can’t fix all of that at once, I refuse to believe that homelessness is an irrevocable fact of life. It is an issue that can be solved, but that requires a continued focus and comprehensive support network.
“Thankfully there are brilliant, compassionate people working tirelessly to support those that find themselves in that vulnerable position and to provide opportunity when it is most needed.”