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Homelessness - duty to refer

What is the duty to refer?

Under the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017, public bodies have a duty to refer people they consider may be homeless or are likely to become homeless within 56 days. The duty applies to:

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

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

How to make a referral

You can make a referral via the Housing Jigsaw referral system.

If you are unable to use the referral system, you can email us.

Making a referral does not trigger an emergency response from Walsall Council. If you are referring someone who is already homeless please contact us for further advice.

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.

Before you start

Before making a referral, you must:

  • have consent to the referral from the customer (you'll need a completed form of authorisation)
  • allow the customer to choose which housing authority they want to be referred to
  • have consent from the customer that their contact details can be shared with the housing authority, so they can contact them regarding the referral

You will also need details for the person or household being referred, including:

  • their preferred method of contact
  • where possible, details about their current housing situation and/or support needs

Next steps

We will contact the person(s) being referred. We will:

  • ask what information, advice and support they need from us
  • take a formal homelessness application, if required

If the referral is accepted we will:

  • arrange to carry out a housing assessment
  • develop a personal housing plan

We aim to help secure suitable accommodation for at least six months. If it has not been possible to prevent or relieve a person’s homelessness, we'll work out if they qualify for long-term housing. We may make one suitable offer of housing if they have a priority need and are homeless through no fault of their own.

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