There has been a slight rise in the number of adults in emergency accommodation, according to the latest homeless figures.

Figures from the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government for August show there were 6,082 homeless adults in the country - up five compared to the previous month.

The number of children who are homeless is down by 31, to 2,620.

Compared to the same period last year there has been a 32% reduction in the number of homeless children with the figure in August 2019, at 3,848.

The number of adults has dropped by 7% from the 6,490 recorded in August 2019. 

The Simon Communities of Ireland have said the number of 8,700 people in emergency homeless accommodation "is still far too high and requires action from the Government in Budget 2021".

Wayne Stanley, National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities said, "During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, emergency measures put in place by the government led to a very significant reduction in the number of people accessing emergency accommodation, between April and June. The Government has an opportunity to take what we have learned in this period and turn it into sustained action against homelessness."

He said there must be "meaningful action to ensure that the progress made during the pandemic is sustainable and long-term, otherwise we are at risk returning to the levels of increasing homelessness seen for the last six years".

Pat Doyle, CEO of the Peter McVerry Trust welcomed the drop in numbers. "The important thing is that the number of people in homelessness has dropped and that is to be welcomed. We want to see the numbers going down all the time, so any drop is something that moves us in the right direction."

He said, "We can see from the monthly figures that the number of adults in homelessness who are single remains stubbornly high. This group is hugely reliant on the delivery of more one-bedroom homes."

Mr Doyle said "strong consideration should be given to introducing specific annual targets for one-bedroom homes in each local authority" so that all providers of housing can "do more to meet the needs of this cohort".

Meanwhile, Anthony Flynn, the CEO of Inner City Helping Homeless said, "We are seeing an increase in the number of homeless adults and the overall Dublin figure is back on the rise. We saw considerable reductions in figures whilst the eviction ban was in place and that trended, as soon as it was lifted, we see increases. This is a primary indicator that the eviction ban worked and should be sustained into 2021."

Mr Flynn said the people who are sleeping rough are not counted in these figures and "on average nightly there are about 155 people now sleeping rough".

He said the numbers also do not include "families in women’s aid shelters, people living in Direct Provision or people couch surfing".

He called for the activation of the 'Cold Winter Initiative' to "protect some of our most vulnerable with temperatures expected to drop to unseasonably low this weekend''.