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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Homeless tests

The Housing Executive has a legal responsibility to help homeless people. The amount of help you're entitled to depends on whether you pass 4 homelessness. The tests look at whether you are homeless, why you are homeless, whether you're entitled to help and whether you're in greater need of help than other people.

The homelessness test is one of 4 tests you have to pass to be legally homeless. 

The other tests are eligibility, priority need and intentionality.

Priority need is one of 4 tests you have to pass to be legally homeless. The Housing Executive has to help you with housing if you pass all 4 tests. 

You have to be "eligible" to apply for housing. You may not be able to get help with homelessness if

  • your immigration status means you cannot apply, or
  • you have been involved in certain types of antisocial behaviour. 

You need to sort out some sort of accommodation if you don't have a home to go or family that you can stay with after you've been released from prison.

The Housing Executive will have a duty to offer you accommodation if it is satisfied that you are a Full Duty Applicant. You will be a Full Duty Applicant if you pass all 4 homeless tests also known as “hurdles”.

You can ask the Housing Executive for help in the three months up to your release date. The housing adviser in your prison can help you with this. 

You can present as homeless to the Housing Executive either on the outside, after your release from prison, or from inside the prison while you are still in custody. The Housing Executive must help you if it thinks you are homeless, or about to become homeless in the next 28 days.

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 has a number of legal responsibilities surrounding homelessness. It provides advice and assistance to people who are homeless and, in some cases, is legally required to provide temporary and permanent accommodation to people.

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