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Duty to Refer

What is the Homelessness Reduction Act – Duty to Refer?

The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 introduces a new duty on specified public bodies in England to refer consenting people, who they believe to be homeless or threatened with homelessness to the local authority.(for example, it is likely they will become homeless within 56 days).

This duty applies to a range of public bodies with effect from 1st October 2018:

  • Social Services Authorities - adult’s and children’s social care
  • NHS Services - A&E services and urgent treatment centres (walk in centre)
  • NHS Services – hospitals (when providing in-patient care)
  • Job Centre Plus
  • Prisons (public and private)
  • Probation Services - including community rehabilitation companies
  • Youth Offender Institutions
  • Youth Offending Teams
  • Secure Colleges and Training Centres
  • The Secretary of State for Defence - in relation to members of Royal Navy, Royal Marine, Army (regular) and Royal Air Force.

It is important that these organisations make these referrals to us so that we can prevent and relieve homelessness effectively.

Duty to Refer Guidance.

How to make a referral

You can make a referral directly to Wolverhampton Homes by using the referral form or by sending an email to: or by


Please note making a referral does not trigger an emergency response from us.

If you are referring someone who is already homeless please ring 01902 556789 (option 6) for further advice or email: If you are calling out of hours call 01902 552999. 

Before you start

A referral does not replace a homelessness application. The referred person(s) will still need to make an application if they wish to seek our help. However, following a referral, the Housing Options Team will contact the person to begin enquiries and decide if an application should be taken.

Before making a referral, the referring public body must:

  • Have consent for the referral from the person(s) being referred
  • Allow the individual to identify the housing authority in England which they would like to be referred
  • Have consent that the service user’s contact details can be given so the housing authority can contact them regarding the referral

You will need

  • Details for the person or household being referred, including their preferred method of contact and where possible details about their current housing situation and/or support needs.
  • Confirmation that you have consent for the referral from the person(s) being referred.

What happens after the referral has been submitted?

The Housing Options team will contact the person(s) being referred, to find out what information, advice and support can be provided and where required a formal homelessness application will be taken.

The person being referred will be allocated a case worker who will carry out a housing assessment and develop a personal housing plan with the person. The aim is to help them secure suitable accommodation for at least six months.

If it has not been possible to prevent or relieve a person’s homelessness the team will determine whether person qualifies (has a priority need and are homeless through no fault of their own) for long term housing, where one suitable offer of housing is made.

Need more advice?

Email the Housing Options team at: