Housing

Prince William wants to ‘give the next generation less chance of being homeless'

'If we really want to fix homelessness it can be done,' Prince William told The Big Issue.

Dave and Prince William on their pitch selling The Big Issue Photo: Andy Parsons

Dave and Prince William on their pitch selling The Big Issue Photo: Andy Parsons

Prince William has said “more support” is needed for people experiencing homelessness following the precedent set by the Everyone In scheme, when thousands of people were brought off the streets during the pandemic.

Speaking to The Big Issue after spending a day selling copies of the magazine, traditionally sold by people who are marginalised, struggling for work, or between homes, the prince said he wanted to play a role “building something more permanent” to tackle the problem.

“If we really want to fix homelessness it can be done, if we do it together and there’s a big team effort. It is possible,” he said, adding: “There’s no doubt about it, more support at the sharp end is needed, definitely.

“What I’d like to do is build something more permanent but fixing all the other issues as well. So we can tie everyone together, rather than fire-fighting going on in lots of areas, to bring everyone together and have it a bit more streamlined and co-ordinated. That’s my aim to try and tackle that and give the next generation less chance of being homeless.”

More than 270,000 people in England were homeless at the last count in December 2021, including 126,000 children. The overwhelming majority stay in temporary accommodation like a hostel, bed and breakfasts or sofa surfing with friends or family. There were 2,440 people sleeping rough when the government took a snapshot count in autumn 2021.

With rents, fuel and food prices all hitting record levels in recent months, experts fear the cost of living crisis could lead to an increase in people registering as homeless with their local authorities.

“I worry it will get a lot worse,” agreed the prince. “We’ve already come out the back of a pretty bad period for trying to tackle homelessness. Current projections mean we could find ourselves in a much trickier position in the next couple of years. Getting on top of it sooner rather than later is in everyone’s best interest.”

He went further in an article penned for this week’s edition of The Big Issue magazine, to mark his 40th birthday, and said he wanted to give his children the same experience with social organisations that his mother, Princess Diana, gave him.

“Despite all the progress, homelessness is still seen by many as some entrenched phenomenon over which we have little power,” William writes. “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.“

Read more about what happened when Prince William sold The Big Issue:

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