Prince William has launched a new initiative aimed at tackling homelessness in the UK.

This new Homewards Project was launched on Monday, June 26, 2023 by the Prince of Wales.

William has set his sights on making rough sleeping, sofa surfing and other forms of temporary accommodation a thing of the past with his initiative called Homewards as he attempts to emulate Finland, where homelessness has been virtually eradicated.

There are around 300,000 people experiencing homelessness across the UK on any given night according to Matt Downie, chief executive of the charity Crisis - one of a number of homelessness partner organisations of Homewards.

What is the Homewards project?

Homewards is a five-year locally-led programme, delivered by The Royal Foundation, and is set "to take a transformative approach to the issue of homelessness and put collaboration at its heart".

It will initially focus on six locations where 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.

Homes will be a focus of the programme, with each location supported to deliver an innovative housing project that will test new ways to unlock homes at scale within the location and beyond.

Homewards initiative locations

The project will use six locations in the UK to showcase what can be achieved through a collective effort focused on preventing and ending homelessness in their areas.

These six flagship locations will be given new space, tools, and relationships as part of the project.

Five of the six locations have already been revealed as:

  • Newport, Wales
  • Aberdeen, Scotland, 
  • Belfast, Ireland
  • Bournemouth/Christchurch/Poole, Dorset
  • Lambeth, London

The sixth location is yet to be confirmed.

The six chosen areas were selected after a bidding process and the findings/results of the initiative will be used to create models that can be adopted by others in the UK.

Prince William says it was his mother that helped shape his attitude towards homelessness

The Prince of Wales toured the UK, visiting the six locations selected for the initiative. 

During the tour he described how his mother Princess Diana's influence helped shape his attitude towards homelessness.

Bournemouth Echo: Prince William launched the Homewards project in June 2023.Prince William launched the Homewards project in June 2023. (Image: PA)

William 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.

“Through these visits, I have seen first-hand the breadth and complexities of homelessness.”

He added: "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.”