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Homelessness Duty to Refer

Anyone can refer a service user to us. However, certain public bodies are required to notify a housing authority of service users they consider may be homeless or threatened with homelessness within 56 days. Before making a referral, the referrer must:

  • Have consent from their service user to make the referral and for their contact details to be supplied so the housing authority can contact them
  • Allow the service user to identify the housing authority in England that they would like to be referred to

The public authorities that are subject to the Duty to Refer are specified in The Homelessness (Review Procedure etc.) Regulations 2018 ( They are:

  • Prisons
  • Youth offending institutions
  • Secure training centres
  • Secure colleges
  • Youth offending teams
  • Probation services (including community rehabilitation companies)
  • Jobcentre Plus
  • Social service authorities
  • Emergency departments
  • Urgent treatment centres
  • Hospitals in their function of providing inpatient care
  • The Secretary of State for Defence is also subject to the duty to refer for members of the regular forces (Royal Navy, Royal Marines, regular army and Royal Air Force)

*List correct at time of publication. For an up-to-date list, please check at The Homelessness (Review Procedure etc.) Regulations 2018 (

You can still refer to us if you are not from one of the public authorities listed above.

How to refer

You can refer a service user to us by completing our Making a housing support referral, or by emailing

What you can expect from us

Once we have received the referral we will contact the service user and give appropriate advice and assistance, depending upon their specific circumstances.

Please note that by making a referral, you are not necessarily triggering a homeless application. We will start a homeless application if we have reason to believe that your service user might be homeless or threatened with homelessness within the next 56 days.

Our contact details

If you are unsure whether you should refer to us, or would like to speak to us for any other reason, contact us