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Duty To Refer

If you are a public body and you wish to refer homeless persons or anyone threatened with homelessness

Duty to Refer – Homeless Reduction act 2017

Public bodies duty to refer service users they believe to be homeless or threatened with homelessness within 56 days.

From the 1st October 2018 public authorities will have a statutory duty to refer clients they believe to be homeless or threatened with homelessness to the local authority if it is likely they are homeless or will become homeless within the next 56 days.

Your referral does not become or replace a homeless application. The referred person(s) will need to complete a homelessness application if they wish to seek our help. However, following a referral, we will contact you to acknowledge receipt of the referral form within 5 working days. If your client has not made an appointment through our online system we will try contact them to invite them to begin the process. We would ask that you assist your client to make an appointment for our services at a time that is convenient for them, and you, if you are accompanying them.

Please ensure that your client brings with them the appropriate documentation to confirm that they are Homeless or threatened with homelessness and that they are eligible for assistance.

Before making a referral, a public authority must:

  • Have consent to 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.


To access the self-help and booking system please use the Housing Options website portal following this link Gateway to Homechoice


The referral form that Public bodies are required to complete can be accessed HERE.

Please email the form to


If your client is street homeless outside of Office hours please call 01206 769779.

Please note that Colchester Borough Homes provides the Homeless Services on behalf of Colchester Borough Council.