Charity given £62,000 to develop missing persons search tool

Missing People’s online tool cross reference’s missing persons records with data on homeless people in London.

Joe Lepper | 5th Apr 19
Image shows a person on the street representing social isolation.

A charity’s digital tool to help reunite missing people with their family and friends has received £62,000 funding from the Mayor of London.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has handed the money from his Rough Sleepers Innovation Fund to the charity Missing People to help develop its Missing People Matching Tool.

This cross references information from the Mayor’s database of rough sleepers, called CHAIN (Combined Homelessness and Information Network) with the charity’s records of missing people.

If a homeless person is found to be missing, outreach workers can work with them to discuss whether they want to let family and friends know they are safe or facilitate a reunion.

The tool is online and uses a limited about of personal data, such as name, date of birth and photo and takes into account data protection legislation and user confidentiality. Once a person is matched they decide how they want to proceed, says the charity.

Nationwide roll out

The tool is currently being piloted in London and could be rolled out nationwide.

“This innovative project was created by the Missing People charity as a way of using technology to help missing people reconnect with their loved ones,” said Missing People Director of Policy and Research, Susannah Drury.

“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.

“This is just the first stage of this project – we hope that in time, more support organisations will link into the tool to enhance its reach and impact even further.”

Khan added: “The increase in rough sleeping in recent years across the country is a national disgrace and tragically it is often the most vulnerable in society who find themselves homeless.

“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.”

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