Duty to refer

Many public services have a duty to let us know if their customers are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

What is the duty to refer?

The duty to refer helps public services work together to prevent their customers from becoming homeless, or help those who are already homeless.

As part of the duty, public services need to let us know if they think any of their users are at risk of homelessness. This is called making a referral.

The public services who need to do this are:

  • prisons and young offenders institutions
  • secure colleges and training centres
  • youth offending teams
  • probation services, including community rehabilitation
  • Jobcentres in England
  • adult and children's social services
  • emergency departments
  • urgent treatment centres
  • hospitals in their function of providing inpatient care
  • Secretary of State for defence in relation to members of the regular armed forces

Members of the public and other services who are not on this list can't make a referral.

How to make a referral

If you think a user of your service is at risk of becoming homeless, you can get their consent to refer them to us for help.

When you have their consent, you can fill in our online duty to refer form.

Provide as much information as possible about the person you're referring and their situation, to help us respond quickly.

What happens next

We'll respond as quickly as possible, within 14 days of receiving your referral, and we'll ask you for further information if we need it.

If we can help the person you referred, we'll contact them to let them know.