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Duty to refer

Public bodies specified in the Homelessness Reduction Act have a duty to refer consenting individuals believed to be homeless or at risk of homelessness within 56 days to our Community Advice and Support Team.

The duty to refer applies to the following public bodies:

  • social services
  • NHS services
  • Job Centre Plus
  • prisons
  • probation services (including community rehabilitation companies)
  • youth offending teams
  • youth offender institutions
  • secure colleges and training centres
  • The Secretary of State for Defence (in relation to members of the armed forces)

By referring individuals to us, public bodies can support our work to prevent and relieve homelessness.

Please note, organisations not subject to the duty to refer can still make referrals to us.

How to refer

Before making a referral, you must:

  • have the consent of the individual(s) you intend to refer
  • identify the housing authority in England the individual(s) wish to be referred to
  • have the consent of the individual(s) for the housing authority to make contact following the referral

You can make a referral by completing our online form or downloading a form.

In cases of homelessness, please call us for advice on (01788) 533833 (9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday) or, out of office hours, on the emergency hotline on (01788) 579706.

What happens next?

Our Community Advice and Support Team contacts all referrals and, when necessary, makes a homeless application on behalf of the individual(s).

View more information on the support on offer for the homeless

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