There are now over 16,000 people in emergency housing in Dublin city a situation that local representatives are describing as a crisis of supply in the capital.

A special meeting on housing heard this evening it would take up to ten years for an applicant to get a home.

Housing Manager Dick Brady told the meeting that capital housing investment by the city council has dropped 70% in five years, from €1.4bn in 2007 to €400m in 2012.

He told the meeting there is also increased pressure in the rental market from people who were "fearful" of buying houses or who cannot get mortgages.

Mr Brady also said that the council would find it difficult to borrow the money for house building as this would affect the national debt figures.

He said it would have to be left to voluntary housing bodies, who are building the vast majority of new units.

Mr Brady said figures show that 55% of those on the housing list are single, 30% are single parents and 77% are wholly dependent on social welfare.

He said there are one-bed apartments in the council's stock that had been considered too small for modern living that could be released for use.

Cllr Mannix Flynn (Ind) proposed a motion that these units, which are said to number about 300, be opened up for letting and it was passed by the meeting.

Cllr Christy Burke (Ind), who had originally proposed the special meeting, also proposed a motion that the council look for funds from the Department of the Environment for housing.

He said it should obtain empty units from the National Asset Management Agency and set up a task force to put a total 480 of empty units in the city back into use. The motion was also carried.

Among a number of others agreed were a Sinn Féin motion calling on the council to set up alternative funding models and a review of the RAS scheme in which the council deals directly with private landlords.

A motion from independent councillors that would allow tenants to refurbish housing units themselves was also passed.