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Homelessness Reduction Act

The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 places new duties on homeless services to assist all eligible households. This means that all households, whether they are in priority need or not, will be able to access assistance regarding both the prevention of and the resolution of homelessness.

The Act amends the existing legislation, Part VII of the Housing Act 1996. The Act requires a clear focus on:

  • prevention and early actions
  • strong referral routes and joint working
  • clear housing pathways
  • personal housing plans

The impact of the Act means that all eligible customers will have increased accessibility to advice and assistance. Everyone will receive a personal housing plan detailing what actions are to be taken to prevent and relieve their housing and support needs. The new legislation gives a clear statutory obligation to all eligible households to prevent and relieve homelessness.

The legislation brings with it a "Duty to refer". This will mean that partner agencies will need to consider the housing circumstances of the customers that they come into contact with. If any housing issues are identified, partner agencies will need to make active referrals to the Housing Options service with the customers consent.

Referrals should be made when the public authority or organisation consider someone may be "homeless" or "threatened with homelessness".

 Further details about the Duty to Refer (opens new window).

Housing services referral

All referrals to Gateshead where possible should be on the Housing Services Referral form (Word doc) [32KB] and sent to or to All referrals sent into the service irrelevant of the format will still be acted upon as long as there is client consent.

Informed Consent Form (Word doc) [25KB]

Referrers will receive an automated response and where appropriate will be contacted by the investigating officer.

All referrals will be acted on within 24 hours. Depending on the nature of the referral it may be given to a Housing Options Officer to carry out a homeless and housing advice assessment or it could be given to a specialist officer within the service. For example, there are staff that work specifically with offenders and prison release, people under 25 and hospital discharge (mental and physical health). 


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