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Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Heathrow one year on

July 06 2009
How the airport outreach programme is working A multi-agency approach has been attempting to help Heathrow's rough sleepers with advice and accommodation since it was reported a year ago that people were sheltering in the airport. Heathrow, Europe's busiest airport, was the first in the UK to launch an outreach programme with the aim of bringing them back into the system. Currently, two outreach workers survey the airport's rough sleepers late at night and early in the morning, and make daytime appointments for those who agree to be helped. So far, 122 people have been contacted and 25 of them have been given accommodation. Heathrow's inhabitants are also advised on identification, registering with a GP, learning and job issues. Broadway suggests that Heathrow's homeless profile reflects the wider street population: 85 per cent male, with untreated mental health and other support needs. The project, launched in September 2008, is run jointly by Broadway, Heathrow Travel Care, British Airport Authority, the local council and the police. According to the Hounslow Chronicle, it ran on just £27,000 for the first 18 months. Further funding is pledged until October 2010. Before the project, police were sending those with no plane to catch back to the streets. The idea of an outreach programme came from US cities like Chicago and Cleveland, which have had similar projects since the 1990s. Chicago's O'Hare Airport was even considering building a special shelter for its rough sleepers, but the plan never materialised.