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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Coronavirus advice if you are homeless

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

Contact the Housing Executive urgently on 03448 920 908 if you are homeless or if you are being told that you must leave your home.

Contacting NIHE

Contact NIHE on 03448 920 908 if you are homeless or about to become homeless.

NIHE has a legal responsibility to provide you with temporary housing if you have nowhere to live and you appear to have “priority need”. You have priority need if you are pregnant, have dependent children, have a serious illness or disability or you are vulnerable and would struggle to cope with homelessness because of this vulnerability.

If you have nowhere to go and are sleeping on the streets, the Housing Executive may be able to give you temporary housing even if they don't have a legal responsibility to do so. The Housing Executive has agreed a plan to make sure that people don't have to sleep on the street, and may offer you a bed in a hostel or similar temporary arrangement if you're sleeping rough - even if they've said in the past that they can't help you. Get advice if you don't have anywhere to live and you haven't been offered any accommodation. 

Can you safely stay where you are?

Although your current housing situation may be far from ideal, you may be better off staying put until this crisis has eased. The Housing Executive is working on an emergency basis now and has limited options for temporary housing.

If you are at risk of violence, injury or serious illness if you stay at your current address, call NIHE on 03448 920 908.

Asked to leave your home?

Tenants have to be given written notice if their landlord wants them to leave their home. The NI Assembly has changed the law so that the landlord must give the tenant this written notice at least 12 weeks before the date they have to leave. This change only protects people who are private tenants, so doesn't help people who have been told to move out of a family home.

Get advice urgently if your landlord hasn't given you the correct notice or if you've been asked to leave a family home. 

Emergency accommodation

NIHE must provide you with temporary housing if

  • you have passed all four homelessness tests and have full duty applicant status or
  • you are homeless or have been asked to leave your home and are vulnerable.

However, NIHE is under incredible pressure at the moment to find temporary housing that is suitable for use during this pandemic. You may need to accept something that is far from ideal, but it must be safe for you and your household to occupy.

Who can help me find temporary housing?

If you don’t have anywhere to stay and NIHE have said they don’t have to help you, get advice.

Contact Extern if you need emergency housing and haven’t been able to get help from NIHE. Extern may be able to find you somewhere to stay.

Call the Simon Community on 0800 171 2222 to see if they have any emergency housing available.

Self-isolating while homeless

The Housing Executive says that it is trying to find a way to ensure that people who are homeless are able to self-isolate.

Call the Housing Executive urgently on 03448 920 908 if you are

  • sleeping rough, or living in a hostel or staying with friends or family and
  • you are showing symptoms of coronavirus or have been living with someone who is showing symptoms and
  • you don’t have anywhere suitable to self-isolate. 

Staying safe

Make sure you check the Public Health Agency website for up to date information and advice on the virus and what to do if you think you may have it.

Read the advice on how to keep your distance from others if you have any symptoms or think you may have the virus. Remember to stay at least 2 metres (3 steps) away from other people and to wash your hands thoroughly and regularly.