Martin, 61, welcomed the Prince of Wales to his pitch in Central London last year as the future king donned the iconic red Big Issue tabard.
The pair were brought back together on Monday as Prince William unveiled Lambeth, South London, as the first of six locations in the Royal Foundation’s Homewards project.
The five-year programme is the prince’s attempt to show that homelessness can be ended and the launch at the Brixton’s Mosaic Clubhouse brought him back together with Martin.
“He’s a man of his word, that’s how I find him,” said Martin, who sells The Big Issue at London Victoria Station and Tesco in Hammersmith. “He’s a genuine guy who is really passionate about it. Getting the council, local charities and businesses together, I think that’s a good scheme myself.
“When I interviewed him he said he wants to be hands-on and it’s a personal thing to him, and when he said he was going to come round to my pitch he was true to his word. That was a small thing but why shouldn’t people get on his side and support him?
“I know genuine people when I see them – and I meet a lot of people. He’s a good guy and I hope he gets all the support for his pet project.”
“My first visit to a homelessness shelter was when I was 11 with my mother. The visits we made left a deep and lasting impression,” said Prince William.
“I met so many extraordinary people and listened to so many heartbreaking personal stories. Too many people have found themselves without a stable and permanent place to call home.
“Through these visits, I have seen first-hand the breadth and complexities of homelessness. A personal thank you to people such as Dave Martin, who is here today and who gave me an induction in selling The Big Issue last summer.”
Prince William is currently on a tour around Homewards’ six flagship locations and followed up his visit to Lambeth with trips to Bournemouth, Dorset, and Newport in South Wales. The remaining three locations will be revealed once the prince has visited them.
Locally led coalitions will be set up at each location to bring together individuals, organisations and businesses who will work together to create a tailored plan to prevent homelessness in their areas.
The Homewards programme will give each location access to a network of experts, partners and funders to bring new ideas and further investment to tackle homelessness, alongside £500,000 of flexible seed funding to support the delivery of the action plan.
Each location will also be supported to deliver a housing project that will test new ways to unlock homes at scale.
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