The number of people experiencing homelessness has fallen slightly for the first time in just over a year.

A total of 11,742 are in emergency accommodation, down 12 from 11,754 last month, according to the Department of Housing.

It is the first fall in homeless figures in over a year.

Since then, the latest moratorium on evictions was introduced in October.

The ban will be lifted tomorrow on a phased basis.

The number of people homeless has been increasing since December 2021, when 8,917 were recorded as homeless.

The figures show that 10 families, including 58 children, exited homelessness between January and February of this year.

However, the number of homeless single males rose from 5,287 to 5,342.

Homeless charity Depaul said that its prevention teams have been seeing more single men aged 50-60 in recent weeks who have been served their notices to quit and have nowhere to go.

Depaul said the role of the Health Service Executive "is crucial" to monitor trends in physical and mental health and to support these individuals.

"Our experience is that homelessness worsens health conditions and if people enter homelessness, there will be inevitable health consequences," Chief Executive David Carroll said.

"National figures show that 30% of individuals who are homeless are 45 years+ and through our community-based service we are identifying insecurity and anxiety within this age group.

"People are already under pressure and in a state of anxiety because of the eviction ban which will have inevitable health consequences."

Focus Ireland has described the lifting of the eviction ban as a "heartless" decision that is already causing widespread fear among people facing eviction and others who are not currently at risk.

The charity said the failure of the Government to listen to homeless organisations' warnings that frontline services would struggle to cope with rising homelessness "is deeply alarming".

Speaking on RTÉ's Drivetime, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Housing Eoin Ó Broin described the latest homeless figures as "shocking and unacceptable" but said that the eviction ban was starting to help children and families as there were ten fewer families and 59 fewer children in emergency accommodation last month.

"I'm not in any way suggesting these figures are good. But it shows that that incessant rise in official homelessness from December 2021 was starting to be contained by the ban," he said.

Over 8,500 homeless in Dublin

The figures show that 8,588 people found themselves in emergency accommodation in the Dublin area last month.

Dublin's Simon Community said that number is set "to swell rapidly from today".

It has advised tenants who are facing eviction to pause and remember they have options to explore.

Chief Executive Catherine Kenny said the months ahead would determine "our cultural attitudes and commitment to solving and addressing homelessness".

She has pleaded with the Government to fast-track long-term housing solutions and exits from homelessness.