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Partnering with Prince William and The Royal Foundation to end homelessness

Lambeth was unveiled as one of the six flagship locations across the UK that will work with The Royal Foundation’s Homewards programme.
Prince William & Claire Holland

The five-year locally led programme aims to demonstrate that by working together, it is possible to end homelessness – making it rare, brief, and unrepeated.

The launch was held at Mosaic Clubhouse in Effra Road, Brixton in recognition of their work to support people who are living with a mental health condition in Lambeth, and the important role improving mental health has in tackling homelessness.

In Lambeth, the council will work as part of a locally led coalition of committed individuals, organisations, and businesses who will work together to create and deliver a tailored plan delivering solutions to prevent and end homelessness.

Lambeth will be supported with an unprecedented package of support, including access new partners, from across the public, private and third sector, funding and a local lead to drive forward change on the ground.

Prince William said: “In a modern and progressive society, everyone should have a safe and secure home, be treated with dignity and given the support they need. Through Homewards, I want to make this a reality and over the next five years, give people across the UK hope that homelessness can be prevented when we collaborate.

“I am fortunate to have seen first-hand the tireless work of people and organisations across the sector, the tangible impact their efforts can have and what can be done when communities are able to focus on preventing homelessness, rather than managing it.

“It’s a big task, but I firmly believe that by working together it is possible to make homelessness rare, brief, and unrepeated and I am very much looking forward to working with our six locations to make our ambition a reality.”

Cllr Claire Holland, the Leader of Lambeth Council, said: “We are working incredibly hard to tackle homelessness in our borough and have strong council services in place to address the issue. But at the same time we face increasing demand for those services and huge challenges in relation to housing supply meaning we want and need to do more.

“Homelessness is incredibly damaging for people’s life chances and their well-being. As we continue on our journey to be a borough of equity and justice, we are determined to work even harder with partners to prevent homelessness and, shine a light on often overlooked groups such as young people and women who experience domestic abuse.

“Lambeth is widely recognised as an area with ambition, distinctive need and a track record of innovation. We are excited today to commit to showing it is possible to end homelessness by joining this transformative programme.”

There were 2,876 homelessness prevention cases undertake by Lambeth Council in the last financial year. The most recent government data reports Lambeth as one of the best performing councils in London in this area. Despite this, there has been a significant increase in demand for housing support services in Lambeth over the last five years, from families and single people threatened with homelessness.

This rise is driven by evictions from privately rented homes and climbing rents across London. The legacy of the Covid-19 pandemic when people lost jobs or were furloughed, the Cost of Living Crisis, overcrowding, a slow-down in new house building and domestic abuse also contribute. High inflation and rising interest rates are likely to add to the issue.

Bayo Dosunmu, Lambeth Council’s Chief Executive, said: “We face a big challenge in tackling homelessness, which is an issue with a huge human cost, so we welcome this new partnership and the resources and focus it will bring to making a real difference for local people in need.

“The council works closely with statutory and voluntary sector agencies and we hope that by partnering with The Royal Foundation we will attract fresh thinking and new influencers to the table, and will be able to share the possible solutions with a wider audience.”

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
  • Work with an independent research partner that will support with capacity building, evaluation and sharing what works throughout the programme

Homewards will reach beyond the six locations, with findings from what works in Lambeth and the other five locations, being shared widely to kickstart a movement to end homelessness across the UK and internationally.

This new approach comes as 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 affects more than 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.

The Royal Foundation is bringing together an unprecedented network of organisations and individuals committed to ending homelessness. The ‘Homewards Partnership’ will support our six locations and galvanise national momentum.

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