Across the country, thousands of rough sleepers were housed for the lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus. It is widely considered one of the few and perhaps most unexpected positive outcome of the pandemic. Yet as the UK gradually re-opens and restrictions are eased, The Duke Of Cambridge says now is the chance to "crack homelessness" once and for all.
Per BBC News, the Duke Of Cambridge paid a visit to The Light Project in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, a co-operative which helps to provide shelter and support for the homeless. Over the course of the pandemic, the project has helped house over 150 people in four different hotels.
Speaking to some of the rough sleepers, Prince William said, via BBC News: "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 are in the homelessness side of things.
"You'll never have a better chance nationally to crack homelessness and do something properly," he stressed.
Ahead of the official lockdown, the UK government pledged £3.2million emergency support to help rough sleepers self-isolate. The Everyone In scheme meant more than 14,500 rough sleepers have been given emergency accommodation in hotels. According to BBC News, funding for the scheme was to end in July.
During his visit, The Duke of Cambridge heard stories from those who've been helped by the Light Project drop-in centre including 55-year-old Robert Smale who had been living in a tent for six years.
Per BBC News, Smale shared: "I've got no intention of going back on the streets again."
The Light Project said they were "thrilled" to be visited by the royal who also met with volunteers and key workers.
"The Duke heard from registered social landlords who are now working much closer together because of the pandemic," they wrote on the website.
Prince William said he had heard New York was buying up hotels to use as permanent accommodation for rough sleepers, as they expected demand from tourists to be flat for some time. "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."