The number of people accessing emergency accommodation increased in January.

Figures from the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government issued this evening show there were 10,271 people in emergency accommodation in January.

That is an additional 540 people, when compared with December's figures. 

According to the latest data the number of homeless adults increased by 388 - from  6,309 in December 
to 6,697 in January. 

The number of homeless families also increased - adding a further 152 people to the list. 

The Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy said: "The increase last month is disappointing. Over the 12 months in 2019 we saw the number of people in emergency accommodation falling for the first time in many years.

"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." 

The figures show there were 6,697 adults using these facilities between 20-26 January.

Focus Ireland said the December 2019 figures had shown an unusually sharp fall, which had been widely welcomed as a possible 'turning of the corner'.

However, it says the rise in the January figures show a return to the upward trend in homelessness with most of the increase caused by a 309 rise in the number of single homeless people, with most of this being accounted for by increases in Dublin.

Focus Ireland CEO Pat Dennigan said: "Whatever parties and independents form the new Government, an ambitious but realistic programme for solving this issue must be the number one priority.

"While I understand delicate talks of this nature can take time, the nearly 4,000 children homeless don't have time. For every extra day our TDs negotiate a Government formation, three family become homeless every day.

"All parties need to stop playing party politics and start working together to show voters that they are committed to ending this crisis."

The Peter McVerry Trust said it was disappointed but not surprised by the increase in the latest homeless figures.

Pat Doyle, CEO of Peter McVerry Trust said: "Our hope was that the number of people in emergency accommodation would not reach 10,000 again, following such a sharp decline in the official figure for December 2019.

"While we cautioned that we would expect to see some increase in people in homelessness in January as is consistent with previous years it nonetheless disappointing to be once again above 10,000 people."