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Prince William reveals Princess Diana's charity work left 'deep and lasting impression' on him

Prince William launched a project on Monday to help end homelessness in the U.K. Princess Diana took her son to a homeless shelter when he was 11 and met "extraordinary people."

Prince William is following in his late mother's footsteps.

On Monday, the Prince of Wales presented a five-year plan to make homelessness in the United Kingdom "rare, brief and unrepeated."

The heir to the throne shared that his mother, Princess Diana, first took him to a housing shelter when he was 11. "The visits we made, left a deep and lasting impression," he added.

"I met so many extraordinary people and listened to so many heartbreaking personal stories," he said as he visited a mental health charity in south London. "Too many people have found themselves without a stable and permanent place to call home.″


This is not the first time William has focused on the fight against homelessness. In 2009, he highlighted the issue by sleeping on the streets of south London, and last year he was spotted on a London street selling the Big Issue, a magazine that supports the homeless.

William launched the initiative on Monday by visiting pilot projects that have received grants of up to 500,000 pounds ($637,000) each from the Royal Foundation, the charity that supports the work of William and his wife, Kate Middleton.

The initiative, known as Homewards, involve collaborative efforts between local people, organizations and businesses to develop programs tailored to the needs of their communities.

William aims to turn to countries who have nearly eliminated homelessness, such as Finland, to pave the way for people in crisis to receive permanent housing as a first step before trying to address other issues such as substance abuse, William said.

"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," William said in a statement.

William announced the plan 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. Recent research indicates that more than 300,000 people throughout the U.K. have no permanent housing on any given night, including those who are sleeping on the streets, living in cars, staying in hostels or temporarily seeking help from family and friends, Homewards said.


In a recent interview with London’s Sunday Times newspaper, William acknowledged that he was "one of the most unlikely advocates for this cause," given his numerous luxury proprieties, including control of the Duchy of Cornwall, which spans 52,000 hectares (128,500 acres) in England.

However, when he was asked whether there were any plans to put affordable housing in the Duchy of Cornwall, he answered, "Absolutely."

"Social housing," he told the Times. "You’ll see that when it’s ready. I’m no policy expert, but I push it where I can."

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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