What do we mean by homelessness?

Homelessness is something that can happen to anyone for any number of reasons. You don’t have to be living on the streets to be homeless. There are many different circumstances that can lead to you being defined as homeless. 

You may be defined as homeless and entitled to help if you are:

  • living in poor conditions that are damaging your health
  • staying in a hostel
  • at risk of violence if you stay in your home
  • living in very overcrowded conditions
  • staying in a bed and breakfast
  • staying with friends or family
  • sleeping on the streets
  • living in a house that is unsuitable for you

If you are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless, contact us as soon as possible on 03448 920 900 or go to your local Housing Executive office

The Housing Executive is legally responsible for helping people who are homeless and preventing homelessness in Northern Ireland. Almost 20,000 people and families asked the Housing Executive for help dealing with homelessness last year.

When you contact us we will carry out an assessment. The support available will depend on your personal circumstances including whether you have children, where you are from, and whether you need additional help. So it’s important that you get advice as soon as you can to get the best help available to you.

Homelessness is dealt with through our area offices, or in Belfast through a dedicated Homelessness Services Unit (HSU).

Out of hours service

Regional Emergency Social Work Service (RESWS) provides an emergency out of hours service for us.

If you need to talk to someone when our offices are closed, or during holiday periods, call 028 95049999

Your call will be answered by a switchboard operator, who will note your contact details and your circumstances. They will then pass your details to one of their social workers, who will ring you back. All social workers are experienced in dealing with emergency and crisis situations.

If you have hearing difficulties, you can communicate with RESWS staff by text on 07799 867698

Further information

  • If you are not sure whether you can receive help because you are homeless, go to Are You Homeless?
  • You can also read our Homelessness Strategy to find out more about the ways we deal with the problem.

Useful links

If you have already contacted us and feel you need more help, or you want advice about your circumstances, you should contact the Housing Rights Service or the Simon Community. 

NI Simon Community provide support and help for people who are homeless, and advice on avoiding homelessness.

Housing Advice NI is the home of independent housing advice in Northern Ireland. It is written and updated by Housing Rights and funded by the Housing Executive.

Housing Rights Service has been working to improve lives by tackling homelessness and housing problems in Northern Ireland for 50 years.

The Council for Homelessness NI provides advice and help if you are facing homelessness. Their advice page has a list of available hostels. 


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