Prince William today, (Monday 26th June 2023), launched Homewards, a five-year locally led programme which will demonstrate that together it is possible to end homelessness: making it rare, brief, and unrepeated.
Homewards will take a transformative approach to the issue of homelessness and put collaboration at its heart, giving six flagship locations new space, tools, and relationships to showcase what can be achieved through a collective effort focused on preventing homelessness in their areas. The six locations will be gradually unveiled by Prince William as he embarks on a UK tour which will take place over the next two days (Monday 26th and Tuesday 27th June), starting in London.
At each location, Homewards will support local partners to form locally led coalitions of committed individuals, organisations, and businesses who will work together to create and deliver a tailored plan to prevent homelessness in their areas – based on local needs and local expertise.
Homewards will further support its six flagship locations by:
• providing access to an unprecedented network of best-in-class expertise, partners and funders at a local and national level to unlock new ideas and further investment;
• providing up to £500,000 of flexible seed funding in each location that can be accessed to support the delivery of their action plan;
• appointing a local lead to support the locations to drive forward their coalitions and Action Plans and spot new opportunities; and
• working with an independent research partner that will support with capacity building, evaluation and sharing what works throughout the programme.
Homes will be a focus of the Homewards programme as each flagship location will be supported to deliver an innovative housing project that will test new ways to unlock homes at scale within the location and beyond. The impact of Homewards will reach beyond the six locations, with results and findings from each location being used to create a flexible, tried, and tested model that can be adopted by other areas in the UK and internationally.
As well as delivering real, tangible impact in each local area, Homewards will focus on improving understanding and boosting optimism around the issue of homelessness. This approach comes as new research, released today by The Royal Foundation, suggests that one in five of the UK public have some experience of the issue (either themselves or through someone close to them). Existing data estimates that homelessness is broader than we think, with over 300,000 people – nearly half of whom are children – currently sofa surfing, sleeping on the streets, living in cars, staying in hostels and other types of temporary accommodation. There is reason for hope, however – with two-thirds (65%) believing that as a society, there are plenty of things we can do to end homelessness.
Homewards is a five-year commitment. By the end of that period, we want our locations to be on a path to ending homelessness for good – making it rare, brief, and unrepeated. Our ambition is that this becomes business as usual, not just in these locations, but around the UK and beyond.
During Prince William’s tour, His Royal Highness traveled to each of the six locations to formally kickstart the Homewards programme in each of them. He met some of the people who will be part of the local coalitions and see the locally led work to prevent homelessness that Homewards will build upon. His visits also spotlighted the breadth and complexities of homelessness in the location and what can be achieved when there’s a focus on prevention and people get the right support.