The Prince of Wales has said the revelation that children as young as 13 are at risk of becoming homeless is “terrifying”, during a visit to a charity helping rough sleepers.
William questioned workers from Depaul UK, a charity supporting homeless young people for more than 30 years, and asked about the issues facing those without a bed for the night.
The future king, who supports a number of leading homeless charities, also met some of the organisation’s clients, with one saying it “saved my life” after substance abuse and debt.
William, 40, echoed his late mother Diana during his visit, who also highlighted the plight do the homeless.
The outreach staff described how the pandemic had been a “major contributing factor” for hundreds of people accessing vital services.
The Prince has vowed to make the matter a “key theme” of his public work throughout the coming year.
After being welcomed by chief executive Mike Thiedke to the charity’s London base in Bermondsey, south London, William joined a round table discussion with staff working across the country to help those affected.
Chatting to staff at Depaul’s offices in London, the prince asked “What age group are you seeing actual risk of homelessness starting?” and when told children aged “13 and upwards” had already suffered “relationship breakdowns” at home, he replied: “It starts so young, that’s terrifying.”
Diana, Princess of Wales was instrumental in teaching her sons William and the Duke of Sussex about the issue of homelessness, taking them to meet rough sleepers during the early 1990s when they were young schoolboys to broaden their horizons.
William is now patron of the homelessness charities Centrepoint and The Passage and last summer became the cover star of the Big Issue magazine after he joined a seller on the streets of London.
The prince told the Depaul UK staff: “So much about homelessness is (not) just about not having a house, there’s so much more to it.”