Duty to refer - people at risk of homelessness

It is the duty of specified public authorities to refer a homeless person, or a person threatened with homelessness, to a council housing team.

If you have seen someone sleeping rough, you can contact StreetLink, who will connect them with local services.

If you are seriously concerned, please contact the emergency services on 999.

Anyone at risk of homelessness can complete a self-referral. Before they start, please ensure that they have read our privacy notice.

Following the completion of a self-referral, please email the applicant’s name and reference number to: dutytorefer@lambeth.gov.uk. Public authorities supporting customers with self-referral will ensure the quickest response.

Alternatively, you can email us with the customer’s name, date of birth, household composition and phone number or email address, directly at: dutytorefer@lambeth.gov.uk.

What you need to know...

About the duty to refer

Certain named public bodies have a duty to refer users of their service who they have reason to believe are homeless or threatened with becoming homeless within 56 days, to a local authority of the service user's choice.

The duty is part of the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017. This came into force on 3 April 2018.

Who is subject to the duty to refer?

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

  • 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 adults' 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.

Further information

Read more about the duty to refer in the guide to the duty to refer on GOV.UK.

This guide outlines what the purpose of the duty to refer is, some advice for identifying when someone is threatened with homelessness, and what the procedures are for referring someone to a local authority. It also answers some frequently asked questions.

If you have someone you want to refer to us, complete the referral form and we'll contact them for further information.