A homeless charity in Galway says it has had to devise new strategies to assist those in temporary accommodation, due to a shortage of suitable rental properties in the city.

COPE Galway says its staff have placed an emphasis on supporting people who are spending protracted periods of time in emergency or transitional accommodation.

The organisation's annual report, published today, shows it worked with a total of 1,406 people experiencing homelessness in Galway last year - 457 of which were children.

The charity says a shortage of affordable rental accommodation has been compounded by limited uptake of Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) by landlords in Galway city.

The combined impact of this means more people are having to spend longer in temporary locations, such as B&Bs, hotels and other short term rental accommodation.

In turn, this has a knock on impact on the availability of emergency beds for new clients and those rough sleeping.

COPE says it has been working with people to help them remain independent and confident, when they find themselves in such circumstances.

The organisation assisted over 450 women and children experiencing domestic abuse last year, providing refuge.

COPE CEO Jacquie Horan says a chronic housing shortage in Galway means families are forced to live in unsuitable accommodation for long periods.

The lack of suitable rental properties can often lead to women and children having to remain in violent situations and cause an increase in the number of older people becoming homeless too.