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Certain named public authorities in England have a duty to refer people they think are or may become homeless.

Who are the named public authorities?

  • Prisons
  • Youth Offender Institutions/Youth Offending teams
  • Secure Training Centres
  • Probation Services (including community rehabilitation companies)
  • Job Centre Plus
  • Children’s Services (County Council or Unitary Authorities)
  • Adult Social Care Services (County Council or Unitary Authorities)
  • Hospital Emergency Departments (A&E)
  • Hospital Urgent Treatment Centre’s
  • Hospitals in their function of providing inpatient care
  • Secretary of State for defence in relation to members of the regular armed forces

When making an application to a local housing authority, the above public authorities must by law:

  • Have the individual’s permission to make the referral to a local housing authority.
  • Allow the individual to identify the local housing authority in England they would like the referral sent to.
  • Have the individual’s consent for their contact details to be supplied to the local housing authority so that they can contact them about their referral.

Who is considered homeless or at risk?

  • An individual who does not have any accommodation which is available for them which they have a legal right to occupy, or
  • It is not reasonable for the individual to occupy their current accommodation e.g. if they would be at risk of domestic abuse.
  • Someone is defined as being threatened with homelessness where they are likely to become homeless with 56 days or have been served with a valid notice under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 by their landlord, which expires within 56 days.
Refer someone that you think may be homeless - opens new windowExternal Link - opens in a new window

What we will do when we receive a referral?

Upon receipt of a referral the Housing Options team will aim to contact the customer within 24 hours. They will discuss the individual’s circumstances and arrange to interview the individual either face to face or on the telephone as soon as practicable. This will enable us to ascertain what duty if any is owed to the individual.

Please note there is no guarantee that temporary accommodation will be offered as this will be dependent on whether the individual has a priority need.

Housing Advice Service

Stevenage Borough Council 
Daneshill House 

01438 242242