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Prince William puts focus on housing crisis for ex-offenders

The Duke of Cambridge

The Duke of Cambridge was in South London yesterday, meeting with former gang members and ex-offenders at the St Giles Trust.

The Trust “aims to help break the cycle of prison, crime and disadvantage and create safer communities by supporting people to change their lives,” according to their website.

Prince William became patron of the Trust in 2012 during the Trust’s 50th year anniversary.

Touring the office in Camberwell, William met with staff and some of the ex-offenders the Trust assists. “What percentage are accepting ex-offenders? 60%?” William asked. Case worker, Hughie Solomon commented that only “30% of private landlords accepted former criminals as tenants,” according to radio station LBC, 97.3. “Which is terrible really,” William commented.

Around 40% of the Trust’s staff and volunteers have prior convictions. Those who spoke with William felt he does indeed care and was concerned.

“You can’t pull the wool over our eyes,” a care worker named Christian told the station. “We have been there, done it and seen it. One thing we can pick up on is if someone is genuine and he is 100 percent genuine,” he continued.

“He was engaging, he was asking questions to the staff and you could tell from his body language he was passionate about what we do. He wants to help in any way he can,” a volunteer spoke on LBC 97.3

At the conclusion of the tour, William held a lunch with six corporations including HSBC, Barclays and  high street shoe repairer Timpson’s to discuss garnering more support and involvement in the trust.

William is no stranger to lending support in the plight of the homeless and those in need of ‘getting back on track.’

In 2009, he spent a night on the streets of London in a sleeping bag near Blackfriars Bridge to further understand the difficulty of being homeless. “Poverty, mental illness, drug and alcohol dependency and family breakdown cause people to become and then stay homeless,” William commented in a 2009 BBC interview.

In 2005 William became Patron of Centrepoint, the charity that was near and dear to his mother’s heart. Often when Princes William and Harry were younger, Diana would take them along to her visits to Centrepoint.

William is also patron of other charities that focus on helping those out of poverty, homelessness and providing a chance for a better life including The Henry van Straubenzee Memorial Fund.

The Henry van Straubenzee Memorial Fund’s goal is to provide Ugandan children with education to help remove them from poverty.

photo credit: Jason Simpson via photopin

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