THE number of homeless adults in Ireland climbed by 130 last month to 5,999, according to the latest figures from the Department of Housing.
Emergency accommodation statistics for October 2018 show there are now collectively 9,724 people living in homeless accommodation across the country – 3,725 of whom are children.
Overall, the number of people accessing emergency accommodation nationally since the previous month rose by 26.
However, there was a decrease in the number of families accessing accessing emergency accommodation by 44 – including 104 less children – for the third consecutive month to 1,709.
Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy said it was "important progress for these families, but we still continue to face a serious challenge and we have to do more".
He added: "There are still too many families and children experiencing this crisis but it’s certainly a positive to see that the number of families in emergency accommodation reduced by 44 in October, including 104 dependants".
Earlier this month, the Dublin Region Homeless Executive announced it would make 333 extra beds available this winter to meet the rise in demand for its services during cold weather.
Minister Murphy claimed the overall increase in people using emergency accommodation can "partly be explained" by the new beds.
"While it is of course better to see people in emergency accommodation rather than out on the streets, we continue to see an increase in the number of adults seeking help," he said.
"Additional funding for family hubs and more social housing will help, and I continue to engage with the chief executives in the four Dublin local authorities to increase the number of successful outcomes in terms of preventing homelessness and moving families out of hotels."
Work to do
Focus Ireland welcomed news that the number of people entering emergency accommodation is rising slower than last year, but called for the development of a specific family homelessness strategy to ensure no family is homeless for longer than six months.
Pat Dennigan, CEO of Focus Ireland, said: "It is totally unacceptable and wrong that one family became homeless every eight hours in October in Dublin alone.
"This again shows that there will be no solution to the homeless crisis until the Government takes more serious measures to prevent families losing their homes."
Sinn Féin spokesperson for housing Eoin Ó Broin added: "It’s bad news that we have a very significant increase in adult homelessness".
"I welcome the fall in family and child homelessness but because there are lots of families who are homeless and are not being counted in these figures, the figures published today are not worth the paper they are printed on," he said.
"We have hundreds of families with children who have been removed from the homeless figures for no other reason than to massage the figures downwards by Minister Murphy.
"Those families are still homeless and should be in these figures."