Free PO boxes should be established to help homeless people escape a “catch-22” blocking them from public services, according to Citizens Advice.
A lack of a fixed postal address makes opening a bank account and receiving vital correspondence from housing services, job centres and health care providers extremely difficult – and can result in sanctioned benefits and lost housing offers.
It can also remove a homeless person’s chance to register for a library card or a mobile phone contract, cutting them off from the internet and thus job opportunities.
The charity and consumer watchdog wants Royal Mail and Post Office to help 320,000 people in Britain gain access to the post network in a bid to tackle the financial exclusion keeping them locked in homelessness.
The PO box-type system, which could be set up across the UK’s 1,350 delivery offices, would mean homeless people had an address to put on applications and from which to pick up their post.
It was also suggested that an adjusted form of Poste Restante, which means having post sent to and collected from one of 11,500 post office branches across the country, is introduced with relaxed ID requirements for homeless people.