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Charity uses drone to locate rural homeless

An outreach team is  pioneering the use of live-streamed video from a drone to help support workers to find people sleeping rough in remote rural and coastal locations.

Live footage from the drone is assessed by members of P3’s Lincolnshire Street Outreach Team so that they can direct colleagues to the person via the quickest and safest route.

P3 Service Coordinator Andy Lee explains how the use of this assistive technology will lead to more positive outcomes for people sleeping rough in the county.

"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.

“It will prove to be an invaluable asset, because time is always the key factor when we’re trying to find someone.

“Being able to reach a person, assess their situation and begin working with them – after receiving that call from the general public – means our energies can be refocussed to ensure the person receives the right support, is safely accommodated and can begin the process of rebuilding their life.

“This technology has the potential to transform our working practice by giving us back the hours we would spend searching for someone to invest in directly improving lives.”

P3 Outreach Worker Daniel Duffield said the drone with high-definition camera enabled users to view the search area remotely until they had located the person and assessed the best route to get to them.

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