The Homelessness Reduction Act significantly reformed England’s homelessness legislation by placing duties on local housing authorities to intervene at earlier stages to prevent homelessness in their areas, and to provide homelessness services to all those who are eligible.

Additionally, the Act 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. This duty is effective from 1 October 2018.

The specified public authorities subject to the duty to refer are (in England only):

  • Prisons
  • Young offender institutions
  • Secure training centres
  • Secure colleges
  • Youth offending teams
  • Probation services (including community rehabilitation companies)
  • Jobcentre’s in England
  • Social service authorities (both adult and children’s)
  • 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

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. It is also anticipated that it will encourage local housing authorities and other public authorities to build strong partnerships; enabling them to work together to intervene earlier to prevent homelessness through, increasingly integrated services.

Please email the completed form through to the team at dutytorefer@southampton.gov.uk.