Software firm Amiqus to support homeless in ID tool tie-up

An Edinburgh-based compliance software firm is teaming up with an entrepreneurial architect to give homeless people access to vital services.

The Amiqus team at the firm's Leith HQ with chair Sir Sandy Crombie. Picture: Robert Ormerod

Amiqus Resolution will create an identity verification tool to help drive the roll-out of ProxyAddress, a government-backed start-up that uses the empty addresses owned by local authorities to connect those facing homelessness with the support they need.

The Scottish firm, which is chaired by former Standard Life chief executive Sir Sandy Crombie, is behind Amiqus ID, a software tool used by regulated professionals to assist with identity and anti-money laundering checks.

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Now it is aiming to provide a means of verifying the identities of those who are homeless, or facing homelessness, as the lack of a permanent address as a means of identification can lead to the loss of access to basic services, such as benefits or bank accounts.

Founded by architect Chris Hildrey, former designer in residence at the Design Museum, ProxyAddress links existing empty addresses with those who have no fixed abode, allowing the homeless to access services, build a financial history, and avoid stigma.

However, in accordance with the latest anti-money laundering regulations, local authorities need a reliable method of verifying the identity of the person in need of assistance before they are able to issue this kind of “proxy” address.

The project is currently moving towards live trials in London, with the aim of rolling out the service nationwide.

It is also receiving support from challenger bank Monzo, Ordnance Survey-led location data provider Geovation and the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, in partnership with Mastercard Centre for Inclusive Growth.

Amiqus chief executive Callum Murray said: “Working with ProxyAddress is a natural extension of our mission to improve access to civil justice.

“Chris has put in an immense amount of work getting ProxyAddress in front of the right people and we’re excited to help him take it to live trials as one partner among many who’ve recognised the value in the practical approach he’s put forward.

“Our aim is to strengthen the societal impact our software can have by working with the right partners like ProxyAddress and FinTech Scotland.”

Hildrey added: “Amiqus is helping bring the years of hard work behind ProxyAddress to fruition and real-world application.

“By building a platform through which vulnerable people can prove their identity, we will be able to provide each ‘proxy’ address with the confidence that it can connect those who face homelessness to the services they need for support, independence and recovery.”

Amiqus ID verification software is now used by more than 150 firms and earlier this year the business announced a strategic partnership with the Law Society of Scotland.