Housing

Online tool aims to help reunite missing homeless people with loved ones

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has helped fund the Missing People Matching Tool to help outreach workers locate people who have been lost from their families

The Mayor of London has helped to fund a new online tool designed to assist outreach workers in identifying rough sleepers who have been reported missing.

The ‘Missing People Matching Tool’ run by the charity Missing People has received £62,000 from the Mayor who hopes to help the homeless people of London reunite with loved ones.

Sadiq Khan said: “It is crucial we do all we can to help people off the streets of London, and I am pleased to be supporting Missing People’s work to help reunite homeless people with their friends and family who love them.”

If a homeless person is found to have been reported missing then outreach workers can help assist them in exploring their options with Missing People.

Missing People can let friends or family know they are safe, help reunite them or if they’d prefer just remove them from the missing persons database.

Petra Salva, director of rough sleeper, offender and migrant services at St Mungo’s said: “With this tool, outreach workers will be able to let people know they are being missed and looked for, but it will be up to the person themselves how they want to take things from there. Staff would support them whatever their decision.”

The tool cross-references information from the ‘CHAIN’ database of people sleeping rough in London with Missing People’s records to identify people on both lists.

To maintain user confidentiality only a limited amount of personal information names, date of birth and a photo – after this information has been used for matching it is deleted.

Susannah Drury, director of policy and research at Missing People, said: “We’re delighted that the Mayor of London has funded this project, and that CHAIN is the first database to be linked to the tool, so that missing people who are also homeless can be identified and supported.”

Drury went on to explain that this is only the first stage of the project and they are hoping more organisations will link into the tool in the future as CHAIN has.

CHAIN has recorded a total of 7,484 people as rough sleeping across London during 2017/18 as part of rough sleeping services work with their clients.

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