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Guidance for health staff on homelessness duty to refer

The Department of Health & Social Care has published guidance for NHS staff on their duty under the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 to refer a person who is homeless to a local authority.

On 1 October 2018, the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 introduced a new legal duty on specified public services to refer service users they consider may be homeless or threatened with homelessness to a local housing authority.

For health services the impact will be on NHS trusts and foundation trusts in the provision of any of the following NHS health services:

  • accident and emergency services in a hospital
  • urgent treatment centres
  • in-patient treatment (of any kind)

The basic legal requirement for a referral is the inclusion of:

  • the individual’s contact details
  • the individual’s consent
  • the agreed reason for the referral (that they are homeless or threatened with homelessness)

Click to read the guidance.