THE number of homeless people in Ireland has risen back above 10,000 in the last month, according to the latest figures form the Department of Housing.
A total of 10,271 homeless adults and children are either sleeping rough or living in emergency accommodation as of the last week of January.
The number has jumped by 540 in just one month, which represents one of the steepest rises in homeless numbers in the last few years.
Frustratingly, the country experienced its sharpest decline in numbers in December, as figures dropped below 10,000 for the first time in almost year, but it sadly didn't last.
A spokesman for the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government said the figures were disappointing.
"Over the 12 months in 2019 we saw the number of people in emergency accommodation falling for the first time in many years," he said.
"This overall fall in numbers was not always obvious from the month to month figures. January has always been a challenging month. The challenge now is to continue the overall 2019 trend through 2020."
A spokesperson for the homeless charity Simon Community said the homelessness and housing crisis requires urgent attention.
"While a January increase in emergency accommodation numbers is not unexpected following seasonal declines over Christmas, it shows that there is still a mammoth amount of work to be done to turn the corner and move toward everyone’s shared goal of ending homelessness," the spokesperson said.
"The three months of decline of families in emergency accommodation in the Dublin Region at the end of 2019 was an encouraging sign that these combined efforts can have an impact.
"However, to help these efforts and allow people to move on from homelessness permanently, the lack of affordable and social housing supply nationally must be addressed as a matter of urgency."
It's understood that as many as 1,600 families are currently without homes in Ireland, including 3,500 children.