This charity is using a drone to find rural rough sleepers.
P3’s Lincolnshire Street Outreach Team will bring the tech to Lincolnshire skies from this week.
Rough sleeping is not just a problem limited to urban areas, in fact rural homelessness can be even harder to spot.
Of the estimated 6,270 households classed as homeless in the countryside by The Institute for Public Policy Research, many are living in outhouses, tents and other makeshift shelters.
That makes people difficult to spot over large distances for outreach teams looking to provide help and connect them with the service they need.
Charity P3 have turned to technology to combat this problem with a £600 drone.
The Phantom 3 drone uses a 20mm camera to live-stream footage of rural Lincolnshire back to outreach teams letting them comb remote and coastal areas across the region more effectively.
Team members can then be directed towards people via the quickest and safest route.
P3 service coordinator Andy Lee said: “This technology will revolutionise our ability to direct our support to vulnerable people sleeping rough.
“Often when we receive information from the public letting us know about someone sleeping rough the location is vague, for example ‘in the sand dunes along the North Shore’ or ‘down the public footpath and across the field’ and of course sometimes the person has also moved on from this location.
“Because the drone will help us to search vast areas within a relatively short period of time, we will be able to locate people much faster, assess the easiest and safest route to access their location and guide our support workers remotely to them.”
P3 chief executive Mark Simms purchased the drone with his own money to trigger the innovative initiative.
It will be hitting Lincolnshire skies this week as part of a trial period that could see it moved to other areas of the country if successful.
“It will prove to be an invaluable asset, because time is always the key factor when we’re trying to find someone,” Andy added.
The above article by Liam Geraghty first published on bigissue.com in Aug, 2018.