The Minister for Social Protection has told the Dáil that a special protocol has been established to protect families at risk of losing their homes.

Speaking during Ministers Questions, Joan Burton said the Dublin Region Homeless Executive, Dublin local authorities and voluntary organisations have agreed a protocol with her department.

It aims to ensure families at risk of losing existing private rented accommodation can have more timely and appropriate interventions made on their behalf.

Ms Burton told the Dáil that these operational arrangements are currently being put in place.

She said it is expected that the arrangement will be fully functioning by the middle of this month.

Fianna Fáil TD Willie O'Dea and People Before Profit TD Joan Collins called on the minister to roll this out nationwide

Ms Burton also told the House that rent allowance recipients facing difficulties should bring their situation to the attention of staff in the Community Welfare Office.

She said that officers have discretionary powers to award supplements for rental purposes in exceptional circumstances.