When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Help from social services

The Housing Executive is the main organisation that helps with housing. But, some people can get housing help from Social Services. 

Social services may have to help if you are homeless and

  • you are under 18
  • you are leaving care or you’re under 21 and have been in care
  • you are elderly
  • you have physical or mental health problems
  • you have problems with drug or alcohol dependency
  • you have a disability
  • you’re responsible for a child under 16
  • you’re an asylum seeker under 18 and you have no-one to look after you
  • you are seeking asylum
  • you can't get help with housing because of your immigration status, but you have children or you are vulnerable

Unless you’re under 18, you should go to the Housing Executive first for help with homelessness.

How can Social Services help with housing?

The type of help you'll get depends on

  • your circumstances
  • the cost of the help you need
  • what services are in your area.  

They may be able to 

  • provide support services to help you stay in your home
  • find you housing if you are under 18
  • find you housing if you are destitute and vulnerable and the Housing Executive does not have to help you
  • pay your housing costs if benefits can't cover the payments and  you are vulnerable

What if you are worried about asking Social Services for help?

You might be worried that something bad will happen if you ask Social Services for help. But, these people are there to help you and they should put your needs first. 

Talk to Housing Rights or your local advice agency if you are worried about contacting Social Services. 

Help for young people and care leavers

You should get extra support if you are homeless and

  • you are under 18 or
  • you have been in care.   

Social Services and the Housing Executive work together to make sure that any homeless young person gets the help they need.

Help for asylum seekers

You might have a right to housing if you have applied for asylum and you're waiting for a decision on your case. 

Bryson Intercultural can help you apply for asylum. They will tell you about the housing and support you can get while you wait for your decision. 

Help for people from other countries who cannot get housing from the Housing Executive

Some people cannot get help with housing from the Housing Executive because their immigration status does not allow this. This could happen if

  • you do not have settled status under the European Union Settlement Scheme, or
  • your spouse or family were supposed to support you in Northern Ireland but are no longer doing this, or
  • you are a foreign student, or
  • you do not have "recourse to public funds" - this means you can't apply for benefits, housing, or certain other types of social help. 

Social Services will only help in these cases if

  • you have children, or
  • you are destitute and vulnerable and you were vulnerable before you became destitute. 

Destitute means you are extremely poor and you cannot provide for yourself or others living with you. 

Get advice now if you need somewhere to live but the Housing Executive says that it cannot help you because of your immigration status.