Some public bodies have a duty to refer (DTR) people threatened with homelessness to their local authority of choice. The DTR is a legal duty under the Homeless Reduction Act 2017.

Public authorities that fall under the duty include prisons; youth offending teams and institutions; secure training centres and colleges; probation services and rehabilitation companies; Job Centre Plus; social services; emergency and urgent treatment centres; hospitals providing in-patient care; and the regular forces of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Army and Royal Air Force.

Before making a referral

Before making a referral, you must:

  • have consent to the referral from the individual
  • You need to have reason to believe they are homeless or threatened with becoming homeless within 56 days
  • allow the individual to identify the housing authority in England which they would like the notification to be made to
  • have consent from the individual that their contact details can be supplied so the housing authority can contact them regarding the referral

Consider local connection

The duty service allows for someone to choose where they are referred. Please be aware that local housing authorities have more duty towards homeless applications with a local connection. 

A local connection to Gravesham means: 

  • Currently living in the borough for 3 years continuously (temporary accomodation isn't included)
  • Currently employed in the borough for the past 3 years
  • If you need to move for work-related reasons which will cause hardship otherwise and are a social housing tenant outside the borough
  • Serving member of the Regular Armed Forces (or within 5 years of discharge) or a bereaved or separated spouse or civil partner
    • Or a member who needs to move because of a serious injury, medical condition or disability sustained as a result of their service
  • If we have accepted the main housing duty for the person. 

Agency referral process

A duty to refer referral does not constitute a homeless application.

Under the Duty to Refer you can make a referral on behalf of someone else, who needs help. 

Our housing options team will contact the individual, arrange a housing options assessment and look at what advice and possible assistance we can give them to resolve their housing issues. 

Read more about Duty to Refer from

I am not a public authority body?

There is guidance and support available, if you are at risk of becoming homeless. If you are Homeless now with nowhere to stay it is important you contact us. 

You can tell Streetlink about yourself or someone sleeping rough tonight. You will need to simply register for a free account, and provide the rough sleepers location and general appearance. The more information provided, will help Streetlink work with local outreach teams to local the person(s) and connect them with support services. 

Duty to refer

Public bodies are able to make a referral for someone else under the Duty to Refer.

Complete referral form