Some public authorities have a duty to refer users of their service who they think may be homeless or threatened with becoming homeless to a local authority of the users choice.  

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

  • prisons 
  • young offender institutions 
  • secure training centres 
  • secure colleges 
  • youth offending teams 
  • probation services 
  • job centres in England 
  • social service authorities (both adult and children’s) 
  • emergency departments 
  • urgent treatment centres 
  • hospitals providing inpatient care 
  • The Secretary of State for Defence (members of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, regular Army and Royal Air Force

Make a referral

Before you refer someone, make sure they have:

  • nowhere they can legally live, or
  • that they are at risk of losing their home in the next eight weeks (56 days) 

You must also make sure the person is happy for you to: 

  • refer them to us and not another council in England 
  • share their contact details with us 

Download a referral form

Email your completed referral to

You can also send us any background information about the person you are referring. Make sure you quote their name in the email subject.