Public body referrals

The duty to refer service users who are homeless or threatened with homelessness

From 1 October 2018 specified public authorities are required to notify the local authority of service users they consider to be homeless or threatened with homelessness within 56 days.

Before making a referral, a public body must obtain written consent from the individual to make the referral and consent to share their contact details with that authority. The individual should also be asked to identify the housing authority in England they wish to be referred to.

The public services included in the duty to refer are as follows:

  • prisons
  • youth offender institutions
  • secure training centres
  • secure colleges
  • youth offending teams
  • probation services (including rehabilitation companies)
  • Jobcentre Plus
  • Social Service authorities
  • emergency departments
  • urgent treatment centres
  • hospitals in their function of providing inpatient care.

Making a referral

To make a referral, you will need to include the following information on an email to

  • Customer name.
  • Customer date of birth.
  • Contact details including telephone number, email address and postal address.
  • A brief description of the customer’s housing circumstances including the reason that he/she is homeless or threatened with homelessness within 56 days.

If the public service is a Prison or the Probation Service and they have an offender who is homeless or threatened with homelessness within 56 days, there is a separate Offender Pathway in place. Please email in the first instance and the specific referral form can be provided along with initial advice. 

What happens next?

The customer will be contacted directly about their housing circumstances.

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