LONDON: Britain's Prince William, heir to the throne, launched a five-year programme on Monday to help homeless people in six locations, a cause close to his heart.

William, 41, is a long term supporter of charities aimed at ending homelessness, following his late mother Princess Diana, who took him to visit a shelter when he was 11. He also slept rough on a winter's night in 2009 to highlight the issue.

He said the "Homewards" project will provide funding, expertise and partnerships to help prevent homelessness in six areas. The Prince will reveal the locations on Monday and Tuesday as he visits them.

"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," he said in a statement.

In Britain, there are about 270,000 households out of a total of 28 million which do not have a home, according to charity estimates, meaning many people including children are either sleeping rough or in cars, living in temporary accommodation, hostels or with relatives.

Charities warn that those numbers are expected to rise due to the ongoing cost of living crisis.

The project is backed by the Royal Foundation, the charitable organisation of William, Prince of Wales and his wife Catherine. Each location will receive 500,000 pounds ($636,000).

It is hoped findings from the five-year Homewards projects will be rolled out further to help homeless people elsewhere, the statement from Kensington Palace said.