Citizens Advice fighting to help homeless people access public services

Lewes District Authority currently has a population of 102,257. Within the region there are 233 homeless people ranking it at 96 of 318 Local Authorities with 1 in every 439 people being homeless.
The reasons for homelessness are complex, but the issues faced to find a way forward are shared. Critically a fixed address to access public services, banks, healthcare, Jobcentres, courts and housing services. Without an address they miss out on import information which can have significant implications e.g. being sanctioned or missing out on opportunities.
Better access to post is key to ending homelessness.
Fifty-four per cent of MPs surveyed by Citizens Advice said people in their constituency have struggled to access essential services because they don’t have a fixed address.

Citizens Advice is recommending two potential solutions building on existing systems:

● A free PO Box system giving an address to put on applications and place to collect their post from.
● An adjusted Poste Restante – allows post to be sent and collected from one of 11,500 post offices. Currently the Post Office requires proof of address to sign up; Citizens Advice is calling for the ID requirements to be relaxed for homeless people.
7 in 10 MPs agreed with at least one of these proposals.
We’d like to see Royal Mail and Post Office trial our recommendations and work with them to end this catch-22 and help homeless people get back on their feet.
For information and advice, call us on 03444 111444, visit one of our offices in Newhaven, Lewes or Seaford or check out our website www.lewesdistrictcab.org.uk for further details.