Are you homeless?

Are you homeless? If so, what happens next?

The Housing Executive is responsible for providing accommodation for anyone who is legally homeless.

To qualify as being legally homeless you need to satisfy four conditions:

  • eligibility
  • homelessness
  • priority need
  • intentionality


We first need to assess if you are eligible for homeless assistance in Northern Ireland. You may not be eligible if you are a person from abroad, or if you have been guilty of unacceptable behaviour. We will check if you, or any members of your household, have been involved in anti-social behaviour. We may also check that you are eligible under immigration/asylum rules.

Are you homeless?

You are homeless if you have nowhere to live because:

  • you are afraid to go home because of violence or the threat of violence from someone who lives there
  • you don’t have permission to continue to stay where you have been living, for example, friends or relatives have told you to leave their home
  • you don’t have somewhere that you can live with everyone who normally lives with you or who wishes to live with you
  • you have a home but you cannot gain access to it, for example, because you have been illegally evicted
  • your landlord has taken you to court and the date by which the court has said you have to leave has passed
  • your home is a caravan or a boat and you have nowhere that you can legally park or moor it

Are you about to become homeless?

You can get help if you are likely to become homeless within the next 28 days because, for example:

  • you have been taken to court by your landlord and the court has said you must leave
  • you have been living with friends or relatives who have told you to leave

Are you at risk of becoming homeless?

Health and wellbeing can often become risk factors for homelessness.  Homelessness can have a devastating impact on an individual or family. So it is very important that you get the right help at the right time.  

We have published a leaflet about some health and well-being factors that could lead to homelessness. The leaflet - Am I at risk of becoming homeless? - gives advice and guidance on whereyou can get help if you are impacted by any of these issues. 

Are you in priority need?

You are in priority need if:

  • you have one or more dependent children - that is children who are aged under 16, or are under 19 and in full-time education or a government training scheme

  • you or your partner or any member of your household is pregnant

  • you or someone in your family is 'vulnerable' because of old age, mental illness, physical disability or other special reason

  • you have been made homeless as a result of a disaster such as fire or flood

  • you are at risk of violence at home

  • you are a young person at risk of sexual or financial exploitation

Are you intentionally homeless?

We may consider you to be 'intentionally homeless' if you have become homeless because of something that you have done or failed to do, or if you have entered into an arrangement that was intended to render you homeless or threatened with homelessness.

You are not intentionally homeless if:

  • it was not reasonable for you to remain in your last home

  • you left home because of domestic violence or fear of violence

  • you lost your home because you got into rent or mortgage arrears due to personal or money problems that you could not avoid; this may be because you lost your job or had a wage cut and did not claim all the benefits you were entitled to

  • your home was supplied through your job, which you lost through no fault of your own, or which you gave up for a very good reason

  • you lost your home because you did not know your rights, for example, you did not know that your landlord needed a court order before you had to leave

Further information is available in our leaflet Homelessness Explained (PDF 94 kB) which can be downloaded below.

What happens next?

Once we have all this information, we will make a decision on the support we can offer you.

Video: Presenting as homeless to the Housing Executive

Reviews and appeals