Prince William in visit to Northern Ireland as part of homelessness project

The Prince of Wales has met with community workers in Belfast on the second day of his tour of the UK with his new Homewards project to target homelessness.

William was cheered by well-wishers as he arrived at Skainos, a community centre in east Belfast.

He was officially welcomed to the Northern Ireland capital by Lord Lieutanant Dame Fionnuala Jay-O'Boyle as well as Belfast Lord Mayor Ryan Murphy and East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson.

The visit came as part of his UK tour to launch Homewards, a five-year locally led programme, delivered by The Royal Foundation.

It is set to take a transformative approach to the issue of homelessness and put collaboration at its heart, giving six flagship locations new space, tools, and relationships to showcase what can be achieved through a collective effort focused on preventing and ending homelessness in their areas.

Northern Ireland is the fourth of six locations to be unveiled by William during a UK tour which continued on Tuesday.

In Belfast, William met initial members of the coalition being built through Homewards, and heard from representatives from the East Belfast Mission about their work to tackle homelessness and about their new housing development 240.

Prince William in Belfast on Tuesday.

He also met refugee Mehrshad Esfandiari from Iran who used the services, and now owns his own home.

The prince spoke with Grainia Long, Northern Ireland Housing Executive chief executive, who afterwards said the partnership has the potential to be "transformational".

"The discussion this morning with Prince William, members of The Royal Foundation and local partner organisations, confirmed that we share a real and a longstanding commitment to work together to improve the lives of those people who are struggling to find a place to call home," she said.

"We share the same vision and are all equally optimistic that we can end homelessness here in Northern Ireland."

Ms Long said the launch comes at a time when Northern Ireland is facing unprecedented levels of demand in respect of housing and homelessness.

"It was fantastic to attend the programme launch today alongside East Belfast Mission, Belfast and Lisburn Women's Aid, MACs Supporting Children and Young People, Simon Community and the Welcome Organisation," she said.

"These are some of the organisations that are already delivering transformative support and assistance to many people.

"We look forward to continuing to work in partnership with them over the next five years, to achieve real and tangible impact around homelessness.

"Despite the currently challenging environment, we are very optimistic that, through the Homewards programme, we will make real progress towards ending homelessness in Northern Ireland."

Following the official engagement, William took time to meet a number of well -wishers who had gathered on the Newtownards Road.

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