Prince William launches project to tackle homelessness

London, June 26 (EFE).- Prince William launches Monday an initiative aimed at putting an end to the problem of homelessness in the United Kingdom over the next five years, the Kensington Palace said in a statement.

William, who is King Charles III’s eldest son and heir to the British throne, will tour the country to unveil the “Homewards” program, with which he hopes to make homelessness “rare, brief and unrepeated.”

The Prince of Wales “has set his sights on making rough sleeping, sofa surfing and other forms of temporary accommodation a thing of the past as he tries to emulate Finland, where the problem has been virtually eradicated,” the palace added.

The five-year project will initially focus on six locations – to be announced on Monday and Tuesday -, where local businesses, organizations and individuals will be encouraged to join forces and develop action plans to eradicate the problem with a funding of 500,000 pounds ($636,715).

“In a modern and progressive society, everyone should have a safe and secure home, be treated with dignity and given the support they need,” William said in the statement.

“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,” he added.

“I am fortunate to have seen first-hand the tireless work of people and organizations 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,” he said.

William said it was a “big task” but he looked forward to making the ambition a reality.

The six chosen areas, including one in London, have been selected through a bidding process and will be used to create models that can be adopted in other parts of the country.

Currently, on any given night, some 300,000 households experience homelessness across the UK, according to the chief executive of the charity Crisis, Matt Downie, one of the program’s partners.

Among some of the factors contributing to that problem is a severe shortage of genuinely affordable homes, rising rents, the increasing cost of living, years of low wages and insecure work that have left people unable to cope with “sudden economic shocks” and a welfare system unable to support them, Downie said.

He also noted that homelessness “is not inevitable” but “in most cases it’s preventable, and in every case it can be ended.” EFE


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