HSBC in Chesterfield to offer bank accounts to homeless people
Chesterfield’s HSBC will now offer bank accounts to homeless people without a fixed address.
The bank in Market Place will use the No Fixed Address service which allows people experiencing homelessness or housing issues to open a bank account.
In just over a year, HSBC UK has more than tripled the amount of branches offering the service after it initially launched the bank accounts in 31 branches in December 2019.
The company has worked with national homelessness charities Shelter and Crisis, as well as local authorities, to provide individuals with access to a basic bank account without the need for photo ID or proof of address.
Chesterfield became the 100th branch in the country to introduce the No Fixed Address service on February 24 and partnered with local domestic abuse charity The Elm Foundation to understand the issues homeless people face in the town.
Anyone without a fixed address can now open an account at HSBC in Market Place when accompanied by a caseworker and using the address of the charity.
Jennifer Calverley, CEO of The Elm Foundation said: “The Elm Foundation are delighted to be a charity partner with HSBC in Chesterfield.
"The No Fixed Address service has been an excellent initiative to ensure anyone fleeing domestic abuse and living in a refuge is still able to open a bank account.
“This year 75 women and men accessed our refuges and had no fixed address.
"HSBC played a key part in helping them rebuild their lives and take back control of their future”.
Traditionally, banks require photo identification such as a passport or drivers licence as well as proof of address, which could be a council tax or energy bill - documents which many homeless people may not have or can find difficult to keep safe without a fixed address.
A total of 700 people have opened accounts under HSBC’s No Fixed Address service, with over 50% of these openings taking place during the Covid-19 pandemic, from April 2020.
The latest government snapshot figures show 2,668 people were recorded as street homeless in England on a given night in the autumn of 2020.
Although, this snapshot has fallen in the last year, it is still 52% higher than in 2010 when data first started being collected.
According to Shelter, more than 253,000 people in England have been recorded as homeless and living in temporary accommodation during the pandemic – the highest figure for 14 years.
Many more people who are sofa-surfing or not captured by official statistics.
Maxine Pritchard, Head of Financial Inclusion and Vulnerability at HSBC UK said: “No one in today’s society should be without a bank account, but if you don’t have a fixed address it can be very difficult to get one.
“I am incredibly proud that we can play our part in helping some of society’s most marginalised and vulnerable people access the services necessary to help break the cycle of homelessness and become financially independent.”
Tom Cross, Local Director for the Sheffield region added: “The No Fixed Address service has already made a difference to homeless people in areas across the UK.
"I’m delighted that Chesterfield has now been added to the list so we can help those in need in our community.”
More information about the service can be found here.