The number of homeless people in emergency accommodation in Ireland is close to 10,000, new figures reveal.
A report from the Department of Housing shows a record number of 9,987 homeless people – including 3,624 children – were staying in emergency accommodation in January.
This is 234 more compared to the last month of 2018 and the number of homeless children has increased by 10 per cent over the past 12 months.
Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy described the situation as “very disappointing and a “crisis” but is convinced progress is being made.
He said: “There was a decrease of people in emergency accommodation in December, which we understood at the time to be partly due to seasonal reasons, and so an increase in January was anticipated but that doesn’t mean it is acceptable.
“We are seeing some very positive movements when it comes to families in emergency accommodation. For two months now we have exited more families in to tenancies than have entered emergency accommodation.
“Families in emergency accommodation are at their lowest point for a year. If these movements can be sustained as trends in 2019 then we will make important inroads in to the crisis this year.”
The Minister said another 10,000 homes will be made available for social housing in 2019.
Sinn Féin spokesman on housing, Eoin Ó Broin called on Minister Murphy to resign after the figures were published.
He said: “The Minister has called the figures disappointing. This is deeply insulting to all those people left homeless as a result of his failures. Today’s figures are an outrage.
“Since Minister Murphy became minister homelessness has increased by a shocking 26 per cent. He is failing and he must resign.”
Merchant's Quay Ireland, which caters for homeless people every night in its night cafe, described the situation now as an "ongoing national trauma."
CEO Paula Byrne said: "The latest homeless statistics show that Ireland is experiencing its biggest social crisis in generations."