William Sees Finland as Model to End Homelessness

Prince launches initiative in the UK, cites his mother as influence
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 26, 2023 8:50 AM CDT
Citing His Mom, Prince William Begins Push for the Homeless
Britain's Prince William speaks during a visit to Mosaic Clubhouse in Lambeth, which supports people living with mental health issues, as part of his tour of the UK to launch a project aimed at ending homelessness.   (Chris Jackson/PA via AP)

Prince William launched a five-year project to end long-term homelessness in the United Kingdom on Monday, saying he wants to make sure that instances of people being left without a roof over their heads are "rare, brief, and unrepeated." The heir to the throne will announce details of the program over the next two days as he visits six pilot projects around the country that have received grants of up to 500,000 pounds ($637,000) each from the Royal Foundation, the charity that supports the work of William and his wife, Kate, per the AP.

"My first visit to a homelessness shelter was when I was 11 with my mother," William said as he launched the program. "The visits we made left a deep and lasting impression.'' The six projects supported by the initiative, known as Homewards, involve collaborative efforts by local organizations, individuals, and businesses to combat homelessness in their communities. Homewards also hopes to emulate the success of Finland, where people receive permanent housing as a first step before trying to address other issues such as substance abuse. The initiative comes as rising rents and a shortage of affordable housing push more people into homelessness amid the biggest decline in living standards since World War II.

Around 300,000 people across the UK are homeless on any given night, according to Matt Downie, chief executive of the charity Crisis, one of the organizations working with Homewards. "The best way to tackle homelessness is to stop it happening in the first place," Downie said. "We've seen it in other countries such as Finland, where homelessness is all but ended, and we've seen it when we follow innovative programs that give people housing first." (More Prince William stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.