When we were contacted in early 2020 by Chris Hildrey, founder of a new project called ProxyAddress we recognised that Chris was actively addressing a key issue for those at risk of homelessness.

Chris realised that without a stable address, people who are homeless or sofa-surfing can’t provide the proof of identity needed to open a bank account, receive post, see a GP, use libraries, get benefits, apply for jobs – anything in fact that requires you to give an address to help prove who you are. He came up with a solution – to make use of some of the 270,000 unused addresses in the UK to provide stable ‘proxy addresses’ for people through a period of instability.

For example, did you know there are also over 160,000 unused no.13’s! Using existing data, Chris and his team create and provide a consistent ProxyAddress that can be used to access services regardless of actual location or how often someone moves. They provide central co-ordination to ensure any mail sent to your ProxyAddress reaches you on time wherever you are.

We think this is a great interim solution to help homeless people get support and access the services and resources they need to get back on their feet. It can’t stop there though. Homeless people need real addresses – real homes. It’s scandalous that an increasing number of homes stand empty when homelessness and sofa surfing is rising year on year.

The need for a ProxyAddress to access services demonstrates the extent of social and financial exclusion experienced by homeless people. No address – no identity – no services.

Our campaign message, working alongside ProxyAddress, is this: Empty homes must be brought into use to turn ProxyAddresses into real and secure addresses. The exclusion and marginalisation of homeless people and people in insecure housing can only be ended through provision of safe affordable housing. Empty homes are wasted homes that must be put to use.

ProxyAddress launched, Thursday 22nd October, with the first UK trial in the London borough of Lewisham - You can read the ProxyAddress launch Press Release here

For more information see www.proxyaddress.co.uk

To read about the project and see why its needed click here to read a project summary leaflet

This blog was originally published in October 2020