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Homelessness - duty to refer individuals

Homeless person on the street

From 1 October 2018 certain public bodies have a duty to refer people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness to a local housing authority. E.g. Preston City Council.

Which public bodies have a duty to refer individuals?

The following public bodies included in the Duty to Refer Regulations have a duty to refer people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless:

  • Prisons
  • Probation services
  • Job Centre Plus
  • Hospitals
  • Social services
  • Ministry of Defence

Full guidance about the Duty to Refer Regulations and the public bodies this includes can be found by visiting GOV.UK - homelessness - duty to refer.  

Which individuals should be referred?

It is the public bodies duty to refer when the public body dealing with an individual who is homeless or are threatened with homelessness in the next 56 days.

Before making a referral, the individual should consent to the referral being made, along with consent to share their contact details with the local housing authority. The individual should also be asked to identify the housing authority in England they wish to be referred to.

Please note: the 'duty to refer referral form' found in the downloads section has a consent section. This should be completed with the individuals personal and contact details.

Which local housing authority should the individual be referred to?

A referral can be made to any authority, however the help that an individual may receive from an area where they have been living or where they have a connection through work or family may be greater than another area where they have no connection.

The regulations also give the local housing authority discretion to refer individuals back to an authority where they have a connection where it is safe to do so.

How to make a referral

Complete the online form if you would like to refer an individual who is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

Make a homelessness referral

What happens next?

When a referral is received, the local housing authority will contact the individual concerned to make enquiries into their situation as required by the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017.

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