The latest monthly homeless figures show a slight overall decrease. There were 8,656 people, including children, in emergency accommodation in September which is 46 fewer than the month before.

In a statement, the Department of Housing pointed out this is the first time that homeless figures have shown a decrease between August and September.

Compared to the same period last year the overall number is nearly 17% down as there were 10,397 homeless in September 2019.

However there was an increase in the number of homeless families which was up by eight even though the number of children was down by 37.

In Dublin there were 47 more adults in emergency accommodation and nine more families, though the number of children declined by 15.

Homeless charities have welcomed the overall drop but Focus Ireland called for the ban on evictions to be broadened.

CEO Pat Dennigan said: "Focus Ireland believes the eviction moratorium should be triggered at Level 4 - at the point where visitors are not permitted in a household."

Minister for Housing Darragh O'Brien offered his condolences to the families and friends of homeless people who have died in recent months, including a woman found dead in a tent in Clondalkin and a man in Dublin's city centre both discovered over the Bank Holiday weekend.

"I know that it's vital we continue to deliver the appropriate measures to ensure that all individuals experiencing homelessness are supported to exit homelessness into permanent housing and that those with complex health and mental health needs are supported and cared for," he said.

Although the numbers of homeless deaths had decreased in recent years there have been 47 homeless deaths in Dublin so far this year. This compares to 34 for the whole of 2019 and 35 in 2018.

Wayne Stanley, spokesperson for the Simon Communities, said: "We have made progress in the last months on family homelessness, which is very welcome.

"[But] the number of single people in homelessness continues to rise. Year on year single homelessness is up almost 11%."

Labour Party housing spokesperson Senator Rebecca Moynihan said: "While the figures have stabilised somewhat, the fact that five people have now died sleeping on our streets in recent weeks highlights the urgent need for action."

Minister O’Brien commented: "While homelessness remains unacceptably high, there are indications in these latest reports of progress being made, despite the added challenges faced as we deal with Covid-19."

Budget 2021 makes provision for €218 million in funding for homeless services next year. The original budget allocation for 2020 was €166 million. A further €30 million was secured in July of this year, bringing the total allocation to date in 2020 to €196 million.

Mr O'Brien said: "The increased funding will allow for a greater focus on preventing homelessness in the first instance while also ensuring that pathways out of homelessness for those individuals and families in emergency accommodation are secured as quickly as possible."