Help for Rough Sleepers
Working in partnership with Thamesreach a leading London homelessness charity, and Heathrow Police, Heathrow Travel-Care have developed a Rough Sleepers Outreach Project to support the airport community in addressing problems associated with homeless people at the airport.
As with any busy port, Heathrow does attract a number of homeless people. Assertive Outreach Workers regularly walk around the terminals during the night to identify people who are sleeping rough. they are then offered reconnection advice and directed to further assistance during office hours for housing, detoxification, employment, medical services and the benefits system.
Taking referrals from members of the public, airport and airline staff, the Police and partner agencies, we work together to try to build relationships with individuals using an assertive outreach model, combining regular contact, with an approach that challenges damaging lifestyles, whilst offering realistic routes to enable positive change. Results to date have been significant.
The Heathrow Outreach team currently have referral rights to a West London Assessment Hub, to assess and hopefully assist eligible individual rough sleeper’s. Outcomes for individuals are appropriately shared with Police to ensure that the small minority of rough sleepers who are not eligible for services, do not wish to engage with services or who may be involved in anti-social behaviour (for example begging, problematic use of alcohol or drugs) are challenged. In this way, we help people to access appropriate support, which also enables the wider airport community to maintain a safe environment.
This project focuses on proactively reconnecting people with existing services for which they may be already eligible, and therefore encouraging rough sleepers to move off the airport.
Anonymised data collected from this Project will be used to demonstrate the need for further homeless services in West London.
The Heathrow Rough Sleepers Strategy Group is facilitated by Heathrow Travel Care, and meets regularly to monitor, inform and feed into planning for the Heathrow Outreach operation. Members are: Metropolitan Police, Chapel of St George, BAA, London Borough of Hillingdon Housing Options and other provider partners.
If you have an interest in this project, please email the Travel Care team.
NB: Media / observer opportunities are kept to a minimum to avoid compromising the engagement of clients with outreach workers.