What is homelessness?
Homelessness means not having a home. You don't have to be living on the streets to be homeless - even if you have a roof over your head you can still be homeless. This may be because your home is unsuitable or you don't have any rights to stay where you live.
When can I be homeless?
You may be homeless if you are:
- sleeping on the streets,
- staying with friends or family,
- staying in a hostel,
- staying in a bed and breakfast,
- living in very overcrowded conditions,
- at risk of violence if you stay in your home,
- living in poor conditions that are damaging your health,
- living in a house that is unsuitable for you.
The Housing Executive has a legal duty to give housing advice andinformation onpreventing homelessness to anyone who asks in Northern Ireland.The Housing Executive must investigate your situation if you apply as homeless. Homelessness has a strict legal definition.
Who becomes homeless?
Homelessness affects a wide variety of people. Some groups of people are more likely to become homeless because they have fewer rights or are less able to cope by themselves. These include:
- young people
- older people
- people with children
- people with physical or mental health problems
- people on benefits or low incomes
- people leaving care
- people leaving the armed forces
- asylum seekers and refugees
How do people become homeless?
You could become homeless for a number of different reasons. These could include:
- being evicted by your landlord,
- losing your job,
- health problems,
- relationship problems,
- harassment by your neighbours,
- a disaster such as fire or flooding.
How can an adviser help?
Get advice as soon as possible if you are homeless, or worried about becoming homeless. An adviser may be able to help you:
- find a way to stay in your home,
- find a new home more quickly,
- get help from the Housing Executive.
You can get advice from Housing Rights Service, Citizens Advice Bureau , the Northern Ireland Housing Executive or a local advice agency.