The Homelessness Reduction Act significantly reformed England’s homelessness legislation by placing duties on local housing authorities to intervene at earlier stages to prevent homelessness in their areas.

Additionally, the Act introduced a duty on specified public authorities to refer service users who they think may be homeless or threatened with homelessness to local authority homelessness/housing.

What do I do if I am faced with being homeless?

We know that it is not always possible to prevent someone becoming homeless, and emergency situations can arise. For example, if you are experiencing violence at home, we would ensure emergency accommodation was available whilst we worked with you to pursue your housing options.  

The Housing Act 1996 (Part 7) as amended by The Homeless Act 2002 and the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017, places a legal duty on Local Authorities to help those people who are homeless or threatened with homelessness.

This act lays down how a council should respond and who should be offered accommodation.  Not all applicants can be offered accommodation, but advice and information about homelessness and its prevention is available to everyone.

There are a number of various options and assistance available to you including:

  • making a homeless application;
  • support if you are struggling to pay your mortgage
  • securing accommodation in the private rented sector
  • advice on homelessness from your matrimonial home if you are the non-owner or non-tenant

However, if you want further advice, please contact the housing options team on 01730 266551.

Duty to refer

The specified public authorities subject to the duty to refer are (in England only):

  • prisons
  • young offender institutions
  • secure training centres
  • secure colleges
  • youth offending teams
  • probation services (including community rehabilitation companies)
  • jobcentres in England
  • social service authorities (both adult and children’s)
  • 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 will help to ensure that services are working together effectively to prevent homelessness by ensuring that peoples’ housing needs are considered when they come into contact with public authorities.

It is also anticipated that it will encourage local housing authorities and other public authorities to build strong partnerships, enabling them to work together to intervene earlier to prevent homelessness through, increasingly integrated services.

Please email the completed form to

Homelessness review and strategy

All housing authorities are required to produce a homelessness strategy as a part of the Homelessness Act 2002.

This sets out how that authority intends on preventing homelessness following a review of the issues in their district, including how homes will be provided for those at risk and those already homeless.

What assistance is in place for those who are homeless?

Not everyone who is homeless or sleeping rough is aware that there are services available to help them.

If you are concerned about someone who is sleeping rough, or you are sleeping rough yourself and are in need of help, you can report this through the Streetlink website.

You will be asked to provide as much information as possible about the location of the person you have seen sleeping rough such as:

  • the town or postcode
  • street name and nearest building number
  • a description of where they are sleeping rough
  • what time of day or night you have seen them sleeping rough

The information you provide will be reported to Housing Services who will arrange for the rough sleeper to be approached, so there is no need for you to do this yourself. By doing so we will be able to link them with local services and offer them advice and assistance.

However, if you think that the person is in immediate risk of harm or danger or needs urgent medical attention, please call 999.

Please refer to the emergency advice pages for more information on the Severe Weather Emergency protocol.

Supporting those who are facing homelessness or sleeping rough

Two Saints is a homeless organisation, who specialise in providing accommodation and support for those who are homeless, vulnerable and in need of support.

They are committed to providing clients with the opportunity to build a brighter future and can help develop the skills to break the cycle of homelessness, poverty and exclusion.

They work across Berkshire, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth, Southampton and Sussex.

They work in partnership with East Hampshire District Council and the service locally consists of a stage two accommodation setting, a community support service which offer homeless prevention and resettlement support, as well as an outreach service dedicated to supporting those who find themselves rough sleeping.

Connect to support Hampshire also provides additional assistance.