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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

NIHE duty

Homelessness can happen to anyone. It's important to know who can help you if you end up in this situation.  The Northern Ireland Housing Executive is legally responsible for helping people who are homeless in Northern Ireland.   Over 18,000 households asked the Housing Executive for help with homelessness in 2018/19.

The Housing Executive is the organisation that is legally responsible for helping homeless people and preventing homelessness in Northern Ireland.

Don’t stay in your home if you don’t feel safe. If you or your home has been attacked tell the police. The Housing Executive might have to find you somewhere else to live if it’s not reasonable for you to stay in your home.

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.

The Housing Executive takes about 33 days to make a decision on whether or not it is responsible for rehousing you because you are homeless. It will look at your circumstances to see if you pass all 4 tests for homelessness. You need to make sure you give the Housing Executive all the information it needs in order for it to make the right decision.

Young people, and especially young people leaving care, can be at an increased risk of homelessness and of being exploited because they are homeless. Social Services and the Housing Executive share responsibility for looking after young people who are homeless. There are different responsibilities, depending on your age and how long you've been in care, but these organisations should work together to find you somewhere to live.

The Housing Executive is responsible for providing accommodation for anyone who is legally homeless. To be legally homeless you have to pass 4 tests including the Eligibility test. The other tests are priority need, homelessness and intentionality. You may not be eligible if you are a person from abroad or if the Housing Executive decides you are guilty of unacceptable behaviour. You must also pass a similar eligibility test in order to claim Housing Benefit and Universal Credit.

Don’t stay in your home if you don’t feel safe. If you or your home has been attacked tell the police. The Housing Executive might have to find you somewhere else to live if it’s not reasonable for you to stay in your home.

The Housing Executive doesn’t have to find you housing if you don’t pass all 4 homeless tests. It may be worthwhile having the Housing Executive’s decision reviewed. Otherwise, you’ll have to look at other housing options.

You will not be eligible for help if the Housing Executive decides you’ve been involved in unacceptable behaviour. Unacceptable behaviour is the type of behaviour that would make someone a bad tenant and covers actions carried out by you, by other people in your household and by visitors to your property. The Housing Executive will usually only consider behaviour in the past two years, when deciding if you have behaved in an unacceptable manner and are, as such, ineligible for help.

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