Identifying when a referral is needed
Staff in public authorities will usually know if someone is sleeping rough or is sofa surfing.
Identifying that a family, couple or individual is threatened with homelessness is less straightforward.
You should ask about the following aspects of their housing circumstances:
- problems with debt, particularly rent or mortgage arrears
- problems with a landlord, for example, being threatened with eviction or served notice to leave
- being a victim of domestic abuse or other forms of violence, threats or intimidation
- approaching discharge from hospital, the armed forces or being released from custody with no accommodation available to them
Which local housing authority to refer to
Service users can choose which local housing authority they are referred to. However, a local authority owes more duties towards homeless applicants who have a local connection with their area.
If a person asks to be referred to a council where they do not have a local connection, it is very likely that they will be referred onto a local authority where they do have a local connection.
In general, a person is likely to have a local connection to an area if they live or have lived there, work there or have a close family connection. However, a service user should not be referred to an area where they would be at risk of violence.
Care leavers aged 18 to 21 will have a local connection with the local authority that looked after them and to any area where they have been placed in accommodation for at least two years, including a period before their 16th birthday.