Richard Gere Just Took His Fight Against Homelessness to the Next Level

March 1st 2016

Alex Mierjeski

Film star Richard Gere is taking it to the streets in an effort to highlight the plight of homeless people living in the U.K.

The "Pretty Woman" actor will reportedly meet homeless men and women who have gotten help from prominent charities in the U.K., according to the Guardian. Gere will also meet with politicians there to discuss welfare reform and more affordable housing projects, both of which he said were crucial factors in bringing real help to homeless populations.

"Most people just think 'build a shelter, give them a bed for the night.' It really doesn't solve anything, and quite often creates even more problems," Gere told the Observer. "Housing is the most important thing in bringing anyone back into society. It's that sense of self... that 'I exist and have some importance to people around me.' I'm saddened that we're all too selfish to help each other as much as we should," he said.

The efforts come as Gere promotes his 2014 film on homelessness, "Time Out of Mind," which will be released in the U.K. on March 4. In the film, Gere plays a homeless man in New York City, a role in which he said he spent up to 45 minutes sitting on street corners, unrecognized.

Time Out of Mind

Gere, who has for years been involved in non profits helping New York's homeless population, told reporters that he had chosen to skip the 88th Academy Awards in order to be in the U.K. to promote the film and its message. "I chose to be here instead of L.A. because it was more important to be here," he told the Irish Examiner.

Government data show that the number of Britons sleeping on the street in the fall of 2015 had increased about 30 percent compared to the previous year.