The Prince of Wales on his Homewards project: ‘Homelessness can be ended for good’

A new promotional video has been released outlining the intentions of Homewards, a five-year, locally-led programme that aims to end homelessness.

The project, launched by the Prince of Wales together with The Royal Foundation, was first announced in June.

William, 41, the eldest son of King Charles and the heir to the throne, said the Homewards scheme would work in six towns and cities and develop new solutions that could be used across the country.

The Prince said he was following in the footsteps of his late mother Princess Diana who had alerted him to the crisis when he was a child.

“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,” he said. “I met so many extraordinary people and listened to so many heart-breaking personal stories.”

The scheme would be backed by 3 million pounds ($3.8 million) from the Royal Foundation, his and his wife Kate’s charitable organisation, which will provide funding, expertise and partnerships.

“Over the next five years, I believe that we have a unique opportunity to develop innovative new solutions and scale tangible impact,” he said in his launch speech at the Mosaic Clubhouse in south London, an organisation which helps people with mental health conditions.

“Through Homewards, we will demonstrate that together we can finally end homelessness.”

At the launch event William was reunited with Dave Wilson who he joined last year on the streets of London to sell copies of the “Big Issue” magazine, a title that is normally sold by the homeless.

In 2009, the prince slept rough on a winter’s night to highlight the issue.

According to the Royal Foundation, more than 300,000 people, half of whom are children, are either sleeping rough or in cars, living in temporary accommodation, hostels or with relatives.

Charities have warned that those numbers are expected to rise due to the ongoing cost of living crisis.

The programme, described as “a massive moment for the prince”, by his spokesperson, is William’s most significant project since he became Prince of Wales following the death of his grandmother Queen Elizabeth last September.

But critics say it was hypocritical for someone with William’s wealth to be talking about battling homelessness.

“The last thing we need is for William to get involved in this issue, a man who has three huge homes and a vast estate gifted to him by the state,” Graham Smith, chief executive of the anti-monarchy group Republic.

“It is crass and hypocritical of William to get involved in this issue.”

Reuters, MiNDFOOD

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