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Prince William draws inspiration from Finland as he launches bid to end homelessness in the UK

Prince William wants to end homelessness in the UK.
Prince William wants to end homelessness in the UK. Copyright Victoria Jones / POOL / AFP
Copyright Victoria Jones / POOL / AFP
By AFP, AP
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Prince of Wales uses Finland as a case study as he launches new five-year campaign

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Britain's Prince William is taking inspiration from Europe as he launches a new project which aims to end homelessness in the UK. 

Called Homewards, the five-year project aims to "demonstrate that it is possible to put an end" to homelessness, Prince William and his wife Kate's Royal Foundation announced.

William said on Monday that he felt "by working together", it's possible to ensure any periods of homelessness are "rare, brief and never repeated". 

The six projects supported by the initiative, known as Homewards, involve collaborative efforts by local organisations, individuals and businesses to combat the issue 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.

According to the Homewards programme, there are more than 300,000 people in the UK, half of whom are minors, who are sofa-surfing, sleeping rough, living in their cars, in hotels, or in other temporary accommodation.

"I don't believe it has to be this way," the Prince of Wales stated in a video message.  

Matt Downie, chief executive of the charity Crisis, said: "The best way to tackle homelessness is to stop it happening in the first place." Crisis is one of the organisations working with Homewards.  

"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," he added.

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