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There is now availability in 77 branches for them, when accompanied by their caseworkers from charities such as Shelter, Crisis and Centrepoint. Using a charity’s address there is no need for a photo ID or proof of address. So far the service has helped more than 430 people to access a basic bank account. The extension comes as winter approaches, the most challenging time for this very vulnerable community.
The Government recently asked local authorities in England to house all rough sleepers and those in hostels and night shelters, in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
This was an opportunity to discuss their financial circumstances and provide the help needed to move to the next step of setting up a bank account for many homeless individuals.
++ If you’ve been affected by this issue or feel you’ve been a victim of injustice, please contact consumer and small business champion Maisha Frost on [email protected]
Maxine Pritchard, the head of financial inclusion and vulnerability at HSBC UK said: “Having access to a bank account makes it easier and safer to receive benefits and salary, and is an important building block for financial independence and security. No one in today’s society should be without a bank account.
“We have worked in close partnership with charities such as Shelter to ensure that we can offer help to customers without a fixed address across our UK branch network and we continue to explore ways that we can further support.”
Polly Neate, the chief executive of Shelter, said: “This pandemic has intensified our housing emergency, making thousands of people newly homeless and in some cases plunging people into street homelessness.
“With this deadly virus still at large, the sanctuary of a safe home has never been so important. Having to battle the weather and survive day-to-day on the streets is difficult enough. But not having a bank account can make life that much harder, in terms of receiving wages or accessing financial support.
“We’re pleased to continue our partnership with HSBC UK as they expand this important service across the country. It means more people who are street homeless can be given the financial independence that will help them re-build their lives.”
HSBC UK is the largest bank in Europe to offer accounts for homeless people. The scheme is based on its “Survivor Bank” service which involves working with human trafficking and modern slavery charities to open bank accounts for survivors. For more information click here.
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