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The postal paradox

The postal paradox

The postal paradox

Wednesday, March 13, 2019
A fixed postal address is vital for people who are homeless to access and engage with the services they need, but being homeless means many people won’t have access to a fixed postal address. This leaves people who are homeless trapped in a catch-22 situation where they can’t access support for being homeless because of the fact that they’re homeless.
 
Citizens Advice have published research that looks at the impact of not having a fixed postal address. It draws on interviews with people who are homeless and day centre staff, surveys of local Citizens Advice staff and MPs, and conversations with national homeless charities. The findings show that having no fixed postal address prevents people from accessing the support they need in two ways:
 
1. People who are homeless are likely to miss important correspondence, such as letters from the Jobcentre, courts and healthcare services, which can lead to benefit sanctions, arrest warrants, dropping down waiting lists and even missing out on housing.
 
2. People who are homeless are excluded from accessing the services they need, with the most notable problem being unable to open a bank account.
 
This video summarises the research.
 
 
To help homeless people access postal services, Citizens Advice are recommending:
 
Royal Mail should establish a free PO box type system for people who are homeless, giving them an address to use to apply for key services and somewhere to receive mail.
 
Post Office Ltd should adjust the Poste Restante service to allow people who are homeless, as well as existing users, to have their post sent to a post office.
 
Citizens Advice is pleased to have established a working group with Royal Mail and Post Office Ltd to try explore solutions that could give people who are homeless an address and access to post. 
 
 
Have your say!
 
As experts in the field, you are invited to share your views on these proposals with Citizens Advice. You can submit any comments you have via a short survey form here.
 
 
Thanks for your input on this important topic

 

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