Prince William visits drop-in day centre for the homeless in Peterborough

Britain will “never have a better chance” to “crack” the problem of homelessness, the Duke of Cambridge has said, as he urged: “We’ve just got to be a bit brave and a bit bold to get it done.”

The Duke, visiting a homeless centre in Peterborough this week, said the “truly horrendous” Covid-19 crisis had created unexpected “slivers of opportunity” to help people off the streets once and for all.

Having campaigned to raise awareness of homelessness since he visited shelters with his late mother Diana, Princess of Wales, the Duke said he was “really hoping” for a chance to “do something properly” to finally rehouse people on a permanent basis.

The Duke was visiting the Garden House, a drop-in support facility for homeless people in Peterborough, which acts as a city centre hub to provide housing, health, and substance abuse services.

During the coronavirus crisis, more than 14,500 men and women sleeping on the streets and in communal shelters in the UK were offered temporary accommodation to keep them and other members of the public safe.

In June, charities have warned thousands were at risk of finding themselves back on the streets as contracts between local councils and hotels came to an end as government funding ran out. 

Kensington Palace said the Duke has kept in contact with organisations including The Passage and Centrepoint throughout lockdown.

Meeting a group of former rough sleepers on Thursday, the Duke said: “I’m really hoping – I mean this pandemic has been truly horrendous for everyone – I’m really hoping that the slivers of positivity and the slivers of goodness that might come out of this is in the homelessness side of things.

“You’ll never have a better chance nationally to crack homelessness and do something properly.” 

Telling them he had heard New York was buying up hotels to use as permanent accommodation for rough sleepers, with a significant drop in demand from tourists in the near future. 

“So there’s opportunities here, there really is, to do this and we’ve just got to be a bit brave and a bit bold to get it done,” he added.  

Rough sleepers and those at risk of becoming homeless are being helped to secure their own tenancies through £105 million, £85 million of which is new funding, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has said.

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