When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Housing Executive help

The Housing Executive is responsible for helping people in Northern Ireland who are homeless.  It is also a social landlord and manages and awards lots of social housing.  The Housing Executive must provide advice and assistance on homelessness and preventing homelessness to anyone who asks for it.


You can get help from the Housing Executive or Social Services if you're homeless or you're worried that you might become homeless.  If you're 16 or 17 social services will try to help you find somewhere safe to live.  If you're over 18, you should ask the Housing Executive for help

Emergency housing

It’s not safe for you to sleep on the streets so if you’ve nowhere to go get help immediately.  Call Housing Rights on 028 9024 5640 or the Housing Executive on 03448 920 900 and explain that you have nowhere to go and this is an emergency.   The Simon Community also provides a 24 hour service for homeless people and may be able to find you somewhere to sleep. Call 0800 171 2222.

Social housing

There is a set of rules that explains how houses and flats which are owned by the Housing Executive or registered housing associations are given to people.

When you apply for housing the Housing Executive or housing association looks at your circumstances and awards you points based on certain criteria.  Everyone who applies is assessed based on the same system.  Points are awarded based on your current housing situation and, in theory, the more points you have the worse your circumstances are.

When a property becomes available the Housing Executive or the housing association that owns the property will check the housing lists to see:

  • who has chosen the area in which the house is located
  • who, of these people, needs a house of this particular size or type and
  • which, of these people, has the highest number of points

Not entitled to help

Some people are not entitled to help from the Housing Executive.  This could be the case if you’re from outside the European Union or you’re from a country within the EU but you haven’t been working while you’ve lived in the UK.

If you’ve been involved with anti-social behaviour in the past, you may also find that the Housing Executive doesn’t have to help you.  However, not all anti social behaviour will rule you out and if you’ve managed to turn your life around and can show that you haven’t engaged in this type of behaviour in the last six months or longer you may be able to get the Housing Executive to change its decision.

Contact an advice agency like Housing Rights if you’ve been told you’re not entitled to help.  An adviser might be able to help you get this decision changed.  If the decision can’t be changed, an adviser can help you look at other housing options.