Homelessness Reduction Act – Duty to Refer
The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 introduced a duty on specified public bodies in England to refer consenting people they believe to be homeless or threatened with homelessness to a Council's Homelessness Service (for example, it is likely they will become homeless within 56 days). The duty applies to a range of public bodies as listed below:
- Social Services Authorities (Adults' and Children’s Social Care)
- NHS Services - A&E Services and Urgent Treatment Centres (Walk in Centre)
- NHS Services – Hospitals (when providing in-patient care)
- Job Centre Plus
- Prisons (Public and Private)
- Probation Services (including Community Rehabilitation Companies)
- Youth offender institutions
- Youth Offending Teams
- Secure Colleges and Training Centres
- The Secretary of State for Defence (in relation to members of Royal Navy, Royal Marine, Army (Regular) and Royal Air Force)
It is important that these organisations make these referrals to us so that we can prevent and relieve homelessness effectively.
Organisations who are not subject to the Duty to Refer Regulations can make referrals to Homelessness Service using the Homelessness Assistance Referral Portal.
The statutory duty came into effect on 1 October 2018.
The homelessness advice web pages have further information and advice for people who need may need housing advice or support from other agencies depending on their current situation.
How to make a referral
Make a referral via the Housing Assistance Referral Portal
Making a referral does not trigger an emergency response from the Council. If you are referring someone who is already homeless please ring 024 7683 4025 for further advice.
Before you start
Before making a referral, the referring public body must:
- Have consent to the referral from the person(s) being referred
- Allow the individual to identify the housing authority in England which they would like to be referred
- Have consent that the person’s contact details can be given so the housing authority can contact them regarding the referral
You will need
- Details for the person or household being referred, including their preferred method of contact and where possible details about their current housing situation and/or support needs.
- To confirm that you have consent to the referral from the person(s) being referred
- You may wish to complete the referral with the person present or alternatively if that isn’t possible the referral forms allows you to only enter information that you have knowledge of, as it is recognised that some referring bodies will not necessarily have an ongoing relationship with the person and/or household
After the referral has been submitted
The Homelessness Service will contact the person(s) being referred to find out what information, advice and support can be provided and where required a formal homelessness application will be taken. This will usually be within 3 working days.