One-third of homeless people in the Republic have signed up for an initiative that provides them with a free personal postal address.
Some 200 post offices countrywide are participating in the An Post service, enabling those who are destitute to collect mail and access essential services.
Address Point – believed to be the first service of its type in Europe – generates a personal address based on the person’s choice of local post office, which will also be their mail collection point.
In conjunction with service providers and charities working in the area of homelessness, an instant address is generated online using a mobile phone or laptop. This is then for use on all correspondence and mail is collected on production of photo ID at the post office of choice.
Should a user move, a new address can be generated and linked to a post office in the locality.
The service has been commended as an example of corporate social responsibility and has won two international prizes: a Cannes Lion award in the sustainable development goals category; and a Clio Award, which recognises innovation in the advertising, design and communications industries.
“We can’t solve the homelessness problem, but by working with partners we can improve access to essential services,” said head of communications Anna McHugh.
Among the many groups participating in the service are Dublin Simon, Focus Ireland, Peter McVerry Trust, Merchant's Quay Ireland, St Vincent De Paul, Capuchin Day Centre, Threshold, Inner City Helping Homeless, Cross Care and Dublin City Council Homeless Executive.