Step 2: Applying for benefits

Allow use of mailing address


Some benefits require you to have a stable mailing address to respond to questions or to receive payment. However, people living on low incomes may not have stable addresses, either through homelessness, precarious housing, or frequent moves. Providing your organization’s mailing address and collecting mail for your clients can be an important contribution to benefits access.

There are some resource requirements needed to do this work. You should be prepared with the following:

  • Staff time — It will require a staff person(s) to coordinate and manage mail.
  • Process — A system or process will be required for organizing and keeping track of personal information of community members accessing this service. If you have a Client Management System it can be used, but other less sophisticated ways will also work.
  • Communication process — Establish a communication process for alerting community members when mail arrives for them. This may depend on what the person prefers or has access to (i.e. phone, email or text).
  • Space — You will need a safe and secure place to organize and store the incoming mail.
  • Promotion — It will require the creation and distribution of materials to market the program.

  • Designate a secure space or process within your organization to keep the incoming mail.
  • Determine how you will promote the program to clients and community members. Will it be word-of-mouth only, or will you offer this as a service to all clients?

It could help your workflow to establish a Client Management System (CMS) to keep track of who is having their mail sent to you and who a key point of contact for each client will be.

  • Many drop-in centres and shelters offer this kind of service, such as Sistering in Toronto.
  • The Coalition for the Homeless in NYC has an Emergency Mail Program.

Other supports that might interest you

No cards. Check filters.

Crtitical supports you can provide throughout your client's entire journey

No cards. Check filters.

Best practices

Get practical tools, methods, and advice. Learn from other organizations who are already providing access to benefits services by accessing this collection of their best practices.

Best practices