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Professional looking to refer a household

A duty to refer

The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 introduced a duty on specified public authorities to refer those they think may be homeless or threatened with homelessness for housing advice. This duty is effective from 1 October 2018 and applies to the list of public authorities set out below:

  • prisons
  • young offender institutions
  • secure training centres
  • secure colleges
  • youth offending teams
  • probation services (including community rehabilitation companies)
  • Jobcentres 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

Ensure you are familiar with requirements of the process before referring. You can access simple guidance and find the referral form at GOV.UK.

The service user must consent to the referral being made. The consent can be made in writing or given orally although the person referring should follow the agreed processes set out in their agency’s internal guidance, if applicable.

Please note that if you are from a Kent public service your agency may already be part of a pre-existing referral protocol, so please check this as more information may be required. 

The completed referral form along with any supporting documentation can be sent to housing.advice@ashford.gov.uk.

Members of the public who write in to the above email address for advice, will be redirected to the self referral process.

What happens next

We process agency referrals within the same timescale as those from the public.

If the household is homeless, we will contact them the same day to make an initial assessment and offer advice. If they are threatened with homelessness within the next 56 days, but have somewhere to stay, even if this is short term, then we aim to contact them within three working days. 

If the person you are referring is within a secured environment then we will work with you to arrange a mutually agreeable appointment for the initial assessment and discussions. 

We will undertake three attempts to engage with a the household you have referred but if they have not engaged at this point, the case will be closed.

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