FREE P.O. Box for Homeless Individuals
The United States Postal Service provides a pathway for homeless individuals to have a P.O. Box at no cost. A free P.O. box can be incredibly useful for homeless individuals as it provides them with a secure mailing address. This allows them to receive important documents, apply for job opportunities, access government benefits, and maintain a sense of stability and communication with society.
Here are the steps to follow:
1) Call the USPS and ask which local offices participate in the “no fee” program.
2) Go to one of those participating offices, complete the application, and show identification. The application for a P.O. Box is available at any post office, or it can be downloaded from the USPS website and completed ahead of time.
Two valid forms of identification (one photo and one non-photo) are required. Acceptable photo ID options include a valid driver’s license or state identification card; a U.S. Armed forces, government, university identification card; a passport, alien registration card, or certificate of naturalization. Non-Photo ID options include a voter registration card.
Given the difficulty an individual without an address may have obtaining identification, the United States Postal Service allows local postal employees some discretion in the application process. The ID requirement may be waived if the postal employee “knows” the homeless individual — that is, if they’ve seen them around and thereby know who they are.
If the postal service employee can not vouch for the applicant, the application can alternatively be accepted if the applicant provides a verifiable point of contact, such as a place of employment, shelter, charitable institution, or social services office. A homeless certification can be used for this.
A homeless certification certificate is available to download from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In order to be validated, the certificate must be signed by a certifying agency recognized by the local Continuum of Care as an agency that has a program designed to serve persons living on the street or other places not meant for human habitation. Examples may be street outreach workers, day shelters, soup kitchens, Health Care for the Homeless sites, etc.