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If you are homeless or threatened with homelessness

Homelessness Reduction Act - what does it mean for you?

The Homelessness Reduction Act became law on 3 April 2018.

The Act increases the requirement for us to help all eligible applicants - regardless of whether you are a "priority" or not.

We have a duty to support anyone who is:

  • Homeless - we must offer help to all eligible households to secure accommodation
  • Threatened with homelessness within 56 days - we have to help people to prevent homelessness which means working with people to prevent/reduce rent/mortgage arrears 

It is very important that you contact us straight away so that we can give support and advice to either find you somewhere to live or stop you from becoming homeless.

You will need to work with us to find a solution to your housing problem.

Duty to Refer for Public Authorities

What does this mean?

On 01 October 2018, a duty was introduced to specific Public Authorities to refer service users who they think may be homeless or threatened with homelessness to the Local Authority Housing Options team. This is to allow Housing Authorities the opportunity to intervene at earlier stages to prevent homelessness and provide housing advice to all those that are eligible. 

There are several factors that may help a Public Authority in identifying whether a referral to Housing Options should be made, this may include:

  • Problems with debt
  • Problems with a landlord, 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, armed forces or release from custody, with no accommodation available to them.
  • Having previously been in care, the armed forces or in prison

What information should I supply when referring a household?

We require the following information about the service user:

  • Name
  • Consent from the applicant
  • Contact details
  • Reason why the referral is being made

Which public authorities have a duty to refer?

The specified Public Authorities subject to the duty are:

  • Prisons
  • Young Offender institutions
  • Secure training facilities
  • Secure colleges
  • Youth offending teams
  • Probation services (including community rehabilitation companies)
  • Jobcentres 
  • Social Service authorities 
  • 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

The Duty to Refer only applies to the specified Public Authorities in England.

If we are listed as a Public Authority - how do I make a referral?

If you believe the service user is homeless or threatened with homelessness then you will need to complete the online triage form. If you are from a public authority and wish to make a referral please click here. Alternatively you can email us at dutytorefer@dover.gov.uk

What will we do once the referral is received?

Once we have received the referral we shall make contact with the applicant and make the appropriate enquiries with the household. It is likely we will make contact with the referral agency for further information.

What if I believe a referral has already been made?

Some service users may be receiving support from a number of different agencies so a referral may have already been made. However situations may arise where somebody`s circumstances have changed since the last referral. If there is any doubt we welcome your referral via the triage link.

Housing assistance referral form

 Complete our referral form »

  • A Housing Options Officer will contact you within 10 working days to discuss your situation.
  • If you are homeless today please call us on 01304 872265 and a Housing Options Officer will contact you. You will still need to complete the referral form.  

If you have a support worker they can complete the referral form on your behalf, if you prefer. Your Housing Options Officer will assess your circumstances and support needs and:

  • offer you tailored advice to help you to stay in your current home or
  • find alternative accommodation before you become homeless


If your landlord is threatening to evict you without a court order or is harassing you with the intention of making you leave your home please contact us. 

Contact your local police station immediately if your landlord:

  • comes into the property without permission
  • threatens or harms you or your family
  • attempts to remove your belongings from your home 

If you are a landlord entering into proceedings to evict your tenants then you should obtain independent legal advice. 

The help we can give you will depend on an assessment of your circumstances:

  • we will normally interview you to find out if you meet certain legal criteria
  • we may come to see where you are living now
  • we may ask you to produce evidence and we may contact other people to back up what you tell us

When we have finished our enquiries we will write to you and tell you:

  • what our decision is and the reasons for it
  • what your options are to help you decide what to do next