We’re signed up to the National Housing Federation’s ‘Commitment to Refer’ – a voluntary commitment that means if someone is at risk of homelessness, we’ll make sure they’re referred to a local housing authority for support. This is to support the aims of the Homelessness Reduction Act, and means we’re actively working to avoid anyone becoming homeless.
This commitment has already been really positive in our sector. It’s contributed to better working practices, improved collaboration between housing associations and local authorities, and sends a clear message that we’re committed to preventing homelessness.
There are lots of reasons someone might be at risk of becoming homeless. They might be going through a relationship breakdown which means they’re having to leave the family home, or they might be part of the ‘hidden homeless’ who are sofa-surfing or have informal living arrangements. People who are leaving temporary accommodation can also be at risk, as well as people facing court proceedings for eviction. There’s also a potential risk when a tenant dies and there are other occupants who can’t stay in the property.
How it works
When we discover that someone is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, we refer them to the local authority that they have a connection with – usually, the one in the area they’re currently living in. If someone is experiencing domestic abuse, it might be safer for them to be referred to a different area – but we’d still work with their local authority to arrange this.
Where we think there’s a potential risk of homelessness – for example, someone’s falling very behind on their rent, or is at risk of eviction for another reason – we would also make a referral, which might allow them to access extra support from the local authority to address the reasons for their circumstances.
When the local authority receives our referral, they assess the risk of homelessness and see if there is anything they can do to prevent it. There might be specialist support available, or that their team can help the person to move to more suitable accommodation. The aim is to reduce the amount of people becoming homeless or staying homeless, and depending on the individual’s circumstances, there are lots of different ways to achieve it.
If you’re worried about becoming homeless
If you’re a Futures customer and you have concerns about becoming homeless, speak to your community housing officer or contact our customer services team. Whatever the reason is, we want to help, and we’ll do everything we can to make sure that you get the support you need.
You can click here to read about the Commitment to Refer on the National Housing Federation's website.