The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 introduced a duty on specified public authorities to refer service users who they think may be homeless or threatened with homelessness to local authority homelessness/housing options teams. This duty is effective from 1 October 2018 and will apply to the following agencies;
- Youth offender 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
Whilst there are specified public bodies with a statutory duty, we welcome any referrals from agencies however, agencies must refer (with consent) with details of any person they are aware of who is homeless or at risk of homelessness within 56 days via the homelessness portal. If unable to access the link, you can contact the Duty to Refer team, please include details of the person, how consent has been obtained and an overview of the circumstance. More information about the duty to refer can be found online at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/homelessness-duty-to-refer/a-guide-to-the-duty-to-refer.
The duty to refer will help to ensure that services are working together effectively to prevent homelessness by ensuring that peoples’ housing needs are considered when they come into contact with public authorities.