The main piece of legislation which deals with homelessness in Northern Ireland is the Housing (NI) Order (1988) which has been amended by lots of later legislation. This amended order explains the Housing Executive’s responsibilities towards people who are homeless or who are likely to become homeless.
Reasons for homelessness
There are loads of reasons that people end up homeless. Some of the most common reasons for homelessness are:
- your home is in a bad state of repair and this is damaging your health
- there’s been a relationship breakdown and you’ve had to leave your family home
- it's not safe for you to stay in your current home because you're at risk of being attacked or injured
- your home is no longer suitable because you’ve become ill or disabled
- problems with family members mean you can’t keep living at home
- you’re being abused by the people you live with
- you’ve lost your job or fallen ill and can’t keep up your rent or mortgage payments
- you’re a young person who has reached 18 and has to leave care
- your landlord has decided to evict you from your tenancy, often through no fault of your own.
Help for homeless people
The Housing Executive has a legal responsibility to give you advice on your housing options if you are homeless or are likely to become homeless. They may also have a responsibility to find you somewhere suitable to live. The Housing Executive funds this website which provides information and advice on housing in Northern Ireland.
There are lots of charities that can give you free advice and information if you’re worried about homelessness or other housing problems. Housing Rights is the main agency that specialises in housing advice in Northern Ireland. You can call our advice line or email us if you have any questions about housing and homelessness. You can also get advice from a Citizens Advice Bureau or local independent advice agency. Council for the Homeless NI is an umbrella group that provides a voice for organisations who regularly deal with homelessness.