HRH Prince William, indoors, talking to some young people in Lambeth

Centrepoint patron Prince William launches ‘Homewards’ homelessness initiative

30 June 2023

The Homewards initiative will test ideas and models to end homelessness in six locations across the UK, supported by our Patron, Prince William.

Last year 129,000 young people in the UK faced homelessness. That is the highest number we have ever recorded and an increase of six per cent on the previous year.

Since then we have seen calls to the Centrepoint Helpline from young people worried about homelessness increase to their highest ever levels too.

Every night, thousands of our country’s young people have nowhere safe to stay.

That’s why we were relieved, excited and energised last week by the news that Prince William shared our vision of a United Kingdom without homelessness.

Play video Video still of HRH Prince WIlliam, asking the question 'What does home mean to you?'

HRH Prince William launches Homewards

How Homewards will help

The new Homewards initiative will test ideas to cut homelessness at six locations across the UK over the next five years. These locations have now been revealed as Aberdeen, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, Lambeth in London, Newport, Northern Ireland and Sheffield.

The programme will create innovative housing projects at each location, with the aim to create a flexible model that can then be adopted in other areas in the UK in the long term.

Homewards also hopes to improve understanding around homelessness and encourage optimism around what we can achieve together to address it.

Recent research from The Royal Foundation suggests that currently, one in five people in the UK have some experience of homelessness, either personally or through someone close to them, and 65% of people believe that as a society, there are things we can do to end homelessness.

Ultimately, Homewards aims to demonstrate how we can work together to make homelessness rare, brief, and unrepeated.

Our work with our patron, Prince William

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

Prince William’s long-standing interest in the subject is well-known and perhaps best demonstrated by his many years as Centrepoint Patron.

Over the last 15 years he has met dozens of the young people we support and his focus has always been clear. Underpinned by his great compassion, he wants above all to challenge misconceptions about homelessness and celebrate the enormous potential of those who find themselves trapped in what is often a vicious cycle.

And, like us, Prince William knows we can break that cycle and end homelessness for good.

Earlier this month, he visited the 33 new homes we have built as part of our Independent Living Programme for young people ready to kickstart their careers but unable to afford soaring rents. He praised our innovation in capping rent at a third of their salary because he knows it will give them the stability they need to fulfil their ambition and leave homelessness behind.

Working together to end homelessness

However creative our ideas may be, we also know this shared vision of ending homelessness cannot be achieved by one individual or a single organisation. The change we need can only come from the collaboration of charities, businesses and government.

That is what makes the promise of His Royal Highness’s new focus on homelessness so exciting. There can hardly be anyone better-placed to pull together the people needed and unite them against a crisis of injustice that should demand all of our attention.

His energy and commitment to ending homelessness are clear - it is up to the rest of us to match it.