Bank launches project to help Doncaster’s homeless to open bank accounts

A new scheme that has been launched in Doncaster that will allow homeless people in the borough to open bank accounts and ‘feel human’ again.

Thursday, 5th December 2019, 7:57 am
Updated Wednesday, 18th December 2019, 4:42 pm

Homeless people in Doncaster and across the UK can now open basic bank accounts with HSBC UK, without the need for photo ID or proof of address.

Working with charities Crisis and Changing Lives, the HSBC UK Doncaster High St branch has launched a service where homeless people can open a bank account when accompanied by a caseworker and using the address of the charity supporting them.

Mayor of Doncaster, Ros Jones said: “It is great to see a national banking institution supporting some of society’s most in need individuals, providing them with a helping hand.

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HSBC team launching the event.

“It is something that we should be seeing more of during tough economic times”.

Doncaster has the highest rate of homelessness in Yorkshire with an estimated 498 individuals living on the streets.

Nationally, up to 320,000 people are facing homelessness across the UK, according to figures from homelessness charity, Shelter.

Having a bank account can make it easier to claim benefits, receive wages and pay rent.

Stacey Hough, Sales and Service Manager at HSBC Doncaster, said: “This project is to help the homeless in Doncaster.

“It’s become quite evident over the past few years that it’s a growing problem.

“Our project is looking at working with the homeless community and providing them access to banking accounts which can have a massively positive impact on their lives.”

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.

Lou Walker, HSBC Customer Experience Manager, said: “We had a gentleman that had been homeless for 20 years and when he came in to open his account he said to us ‘this is the first time I’ve felt human in 20 years.’

“He came back the first week after applying for a house, the week after he got it, then he was able to claim benefits and now he’s actually applied for a job.”