Almost 3,000 homeless people around the country use a local post office as their home address to receive mail because of the scale of Ireland's housing crisis.

New data reveals the spread of hidden homelessness across the country, with many people unaccounted for in official figures because they stay with friends and family.

The Sunday Independent reports that the statistics show higher volumes of people in rural areas using post offices as an alternative because they have no home address.

The figures show high demand for the service in Galway where there are 194 users.

In counties across the west there are more homeless people registered for the An Post service than there are staying in emergency accommodation, according to the Department of Housing's most recent figures.

Mayo with 31, Roscommon with 15, Leitrim with 5 and Sligo with 38, have more homeless people using post offices to access mail than those recorded as being in emergency accommodation.

The figures have been made available by An Post for the first time since the service was created for homeless people last April

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