Improving outcomes for rough sleepers in the UK
Fellows: Lushi Chen, Zoe Kimpel, Austin Nguyen, Harry Wilde
Data Science Mentor(s): Adolfo de Unanue
Project Manager: Josh Sidgwick
Project Partner: HomelessLink
Since 2012, the charity Homeless Link has been running StreetLink, a programme that helps connect rough sleepers to local services in England and Wales. StreetLink acts as a bridge between members of the public (who provide referrals) and local authorities. It provides a platform to find rough sleepers, and then connects them to relevant services that local authorities provide in order to meet their needs (immediate shelter, health assessments, etc).
Because this service relies on public reporting, referral quality remains a challenge: there are many instances where services are deployed, only to be unable to find the rough sleeper who has been referred. Homeless link tries to identify actionable insights about homeless people based on the entire dataset e.g. by identifying outliers or trends, or predicting where homeless people are likely to need help. The goal of the project is to reduce the time it takes to find a new rough sleeper and to improve access to services for particularly vulnerable individuals.