ADDRESS POINT - POINTING A WAY BACK HOME FOR IRELAND'S HOMELESS
Bronze eurobest Award
G04. Social Behaviour & Cultural Insight
ADDRESS POINT - POINTING A WAY BACK HOME FOR IRELAND'S HOMELESS
WUNDERMAN THOMPSON Dublin, IRELAND
JWT FOLK Dublin, IRELAND
Senior Strategic Planner
Senior Account Manager
Why is this work relevant for Direct?
This work couldn’t speak more directly to and serve to the 10,275 people living in Ireland who have no home to call their own because Address Point was tailor-made to meet their needs at a time of national crisis.
Unlike other minorities or communities that share common characteristics, beliefs or cultural ties, the homeless transcend all the usual socio-demographic boundaries. They are united primarily by their inability to access affordable housing. Many are victims of structural factors in the Irish economy which their government have been unable or unwilling to address. They needed a direct intervention designed around their needs.
An Post, Ireland’s national postal service exists to improve the quality of life for people in Ireland, expressed through its brand platform, “For Your World”. To do this responsibly, it takes a wide eye view of the challenges Irish people face and identifies where it can have impact.
One such challenge is Ireland’s homelessness crisis. In the decade since the financial crisis, Ireland has had a lack of investment in housing. Today, Ireland is a first world country with a third world problem with 10,125 people homeless. The societal and cultural repercussions of homelessness are immense, de-humanising and long lasting and unique to this audience.
As part of An Post’s 'For Your World' campaign launching in April 2019, it wanted a solution to address this issue in such a way that brings An Post’s brand purpose to life.
Describe the creative idea (30% of vote)
The cruel irony of homelessness is that to get help, you need an address. Without an address, one cannot access the basic services designed to help like health, housing, education, potential employment and even the right to vote.
An Post created Address Point, a free nationwide service that provides a fixed address to those without a fixed home. Uniquely designed for this audience, it enables them to receive regular post and access essential services by creating a digital proxy address, linked to a post office of their choice, allowing them to collect their post at a time and place convenient to them.
With this initiative, Ireland’s homeless community finally feel like they have the tools and agency to break the cycle of homelessness on their terms. This service frees them of their reliance on homeless services and delivers a long lost sense of identity and belonging that homelessness creates.
Describe the strategy (20% of vote)
We interviewed experts who work with the homeless community to identify the real needs of an address service and how we service all levels of homelessness across this 10,000 person community.
We ran a workshop to see what was feasible and tested our resulting blueprint amongst members of the homeless community to be as representative as possible.
We identified this initiative needed to be:
• Flexible – serve multiple locations due to nomadic lifestyles
• Free – incur no cost to the user.
• Human – feel like a real address and not a P.O Box for the homeless
• Easy to access – two-step process with simple language and minimal data commitment
A secondary consideration was also creating a blueprint that could be easily adopted by other postal services around the world to provide this solution in other countries facing a similar issue.
Describe the execution (20% of vote)
Address Point was designed to fully reflect the needs of this unique audience and their nomadic nature.
Address Point is free, accessible via the internet and is a simple two step journey to sign up. An address is generated which can be saved as a photo or written down manually. It borrows the post office’s physical address and includes a unique identifier that notifies staff to hold the post at the post office for collection. If one moves to a different part of the country, a new address can be generated for their new residence.
It launched nationally through homeless services using printed collateral in emergency accommodation, communicating the service. It also featured in An Post’s post offices where the community collect their social welfare payment weekly. Finally, it was heavily promoted through the community’s social workers who aided sign ups as part of their regular catch ups with clients.
List the results (30% of vote)
Since April 2019, 1/3 of Ireland’s adult homeless community have signed up to Address Point. Address Point is used daily, accessed across the country, confirming the reality that Ireland’s homelessness is a national issue and one that greatly needed this initiative. At the current rate of sign ups, An Post predict that within six months it will be serving 66% of the community.
Address Point was endorsed by every national homeless service, calling it a practical and pragmatic solution that directly addresses the community’s needs.
Since launch, An Post has been consulting with a number of postal networks around the world, sharing this blueprint solution and helping them provide a similar service in their countries.
The launch generated national and international press, generating 220 million media impressions and featured on every national broadcast show on the day of launch, including Ireland’s prime time news slot at 6pm.
Please tell us about the social behaviour and / or cultural insights that inspired your campaign
Irish people are obsessed with home ownership. From the 16th - 19th century, Irish people’s right to a home was in question. From the British plantations to the Great Famine, the resulting impact of mass emigration has left a lasting memory on the Irish nation, one where our connection to our homes shapes our identity.
Displacement from one’s home is seen as one of the worst realities Irish people could face. Having a home doesn’t just symbolise safety, it is a lifeline to society – one’s address is the identifier needed to engage with services such as health, education and social welfare. It is also the gateway to progress; applying for a job, a home and most importantly, the ability vote. At a time of national crisis, while we could provide a home, creating a solution that delivered independence and a sense of identity for the homeless felt undeniably urgent.