One of the world’s busiest airports has become a temporary home for dozens of homeless people as the closure of gyms, libraries and other facilities leaves them with few options for shelter.
Heathrow has long worked with the homeless and employs outreach workers to walk around the terminals to identify people who are sleeping rough.
Taking referrals from members of the public, airport and airline staff, the police and partner agencies, they work to try to build relationships with homeless people at the airport, offering reconnection advice, and putting them in touch with support services for housing, detoxification, employment and medical services.
A Heathrow spokesperson said in a statement, “In line with Government guidelines, Heathrow is applying the necessary social distancing measures at our airport which sees us strictly limiting airport access to passengers, colleagues and those with a reason for entry. We are asking all other members of the public to leave to ensure their safety and the safety of others.
“Our in-house Travel Care Team is working in partnership with external outreach organisations, local authorities and Government to relocate homeless people already at the airport, only when they are able to offer safe, alternative accommodation.”