An Post has launched what it says is Europe's first free personal address and mail collection service for people who are homeless or living in temporary accommodation.

Homeless charities have praised the Address Point initiative saying it will have an immediate positive impact on the lives of many of the country's 10,000-plus homeless individuals.

While seeming similar to a Post Office Box service, An Post says Address Point is different, partly because it is free of charge and of stigma.

Also the 200 or so participating post offices are much more accessible than the PO Box network.

Primarily an urban service, Address Point has been developed by An Post along with homeless charities and service providers who daily witness the hardship suffered by address-less people: not receiving notices for medical appointments or responses to job applications, for instance, or being cut off from family and friends on birthdays or at times of bereavement.

Charity and service outreach workers will facilitate the homeless person or the individual in temporary accommodation to register via an App, inputting his or her full name and choosing his or her preferred post office.

An Post says it will respond by generating a personal address based on that post office, which becomes the personalised mail collection point.

But, to avoid stigmatisation of the homeless customer, the words "Post Office" will not appear in any of the personal addresses.

Debbie Byrne, Managing Director of An Post Retail, says homeless people already collect their weekly social welfare entitlements at post offices.

Once registered with Address Point, all they need to do is to present the correct photo identification at their chosen office and a postal worker will hand over any envelopes or jiffy bags addressed to them.

Mail will be held for a maximum of 20 days and items must not exceed 100 grams in weight.

Both Dublin Simon and the Peter McVerry Trust have welcomed the new service saying it will make a real difference to the lives of our record number of homeless neighbours.