Your Duty to Refer

Duty to Refer clients who are homeless or threatened with homelessness.

From 1st October 2018, certain public bodies will have a duty to refer any person who they believe may be homeless or threatened with homelessness to the local housing authority of their choice, providing that person wants to be referred for assistance.

The law that created this duty is the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 S10.

Public bodies that have this duty to refer

The organisations that are responsible for making these referrals are:

  • Prisons and youth offender institutions
  • Secure training centres and colleges
  • Youth offending teams and probation services
  • Jobcentre Plus
  • Accident and emergency services provided in a hospital
  • Urgent treatment centres (for example, Walk In Centres)
  • In-patient hospitals
  • Social service authorities, and
  • Ministry of Defence (for members of the regular armed forces)

What must I ask?

People working in the organisations listed above may have information that leads them to believe that one of their clients is homeless or threatened with homelessness.

They should ask the client:

  1. Have you already been referred to a local housing authority for assistance? (there is no need to refer someone who has already been referred by another agency).
  2. Do you give consent for me to refer you to a local housing authority for help with resolving your housing situation? (Bear in mind that you will need to share information about the applicant with the housing authority).
  3. Which local housing authority would you like me to refer you to?


Which local housing authority is appropriate?

The client may choose which local housing authority they wish to be referred to. However, it is sensible to guide the applicant towards the local council who are best equipped to resolve the situation. This will usually mean the local council in an area where the applicant has a strong connection.

The exception would be if there is a threat of violence in that district.

For further guidance on local connections please contact us on 03450450051.

What if my client has no local connection with South Cambridgeshire, but wishes to be referred?

If the client is threatened with being made homeless within the next 56 days, we will work with them to try to resolve the problem, so they can stay where they are living (if appropriate).

If the client needs to find somewhere different to live, we will explore a broad range of options, including private rented housing and registering for social rent.

Please note that most councils will offer greater preference on their housing register for people who have a local connection. This includes South Cambridgeshire District Council.

If the client is already homeless, we will investigate whether there is a local connection with South Cambridgeshire.

Those homeless people without a local connection, will be referred to the council area where they do have a connection (unless they have no connection anywhere).

How to make the referral to South Cambridgeshire?

Organisations that have consent to make a referral to South Cambridgeshire, and who feel it is appropriate to do so, should visit complete their referral through the Housing Assistance Referral Portal.

Information required:

  • Basic client details (Name, DOB, Contact Information, Last Known Address).
  • Why they are Homeless/threatened with homelessness.
  • How you are supporting them?

Make a housing assistance referral

What will happen next?

All referrals will be reviewed and contact made with the applicant as soon as possible.

If the council is satisfied that the applicant is eligible for help, and either threatened with homelessness within 56 days, or homeless now, a homeless application will be created. Otherwise, we will provide as much advice and assistance as we can.

If you believe the applicant has nowhere to sleep tonight, use the email, and also suggest that the applicant comes to the Housing Advice Service straight-away.

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