When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Hostels, nightshelters and foyers

The Housing Executive uses hostels as temporary housing. There are different types of homeless hostels. 

Finding a place in a hostel

Contact the Housing Executive if you need temporary housing. 

If the Housing Executive can't offer you a space, you can

You will only get a space in certain hostels if the Housing Executive or Social Services book it for you. 

Different types of hostels

Some hostels are for certain types of people. The hostel might be for

  • women
  • single people
  • families
  • young people
  • people with addiction issues.

Living in a hostel

Each hostel has its own rules. You can be asked to leave if you break these. 

You will usually have your own room, but you may have to share kitchens and bathrooms. Very few hostels have shared bedrooms. 

Some hostels are more like apartment buildings, with residents having their own flat. 

Staff in the hostel are there to help you. Hostels will often work with other agencies who can help you

  • apply for permanent housing
  • apply for benefits
  • get counselling and advice to deal with certain issues
  • look at opportunities for training or work
  • support you with any personal issues you are having.


You can live in a foyer if you're under 25. There are 3 foyers in Northern Ireland

Social services need to arrange your place if you are under 18. 


Nightshelters are emergency beds. You can't book a bed at the nightshelter. You have to queue up each night for a space.  

These emergency nightshelters may have a bed for the night

Paying to live in a hostel

You have to pay rent to live in a hostel. You can apply for Housing Benefit to help with this. 

You may have to pay service charges. Benefits won't usually cover these.