A charity working with homeless families in Galway says more than 200 children around the city are facing Christmas in emergency accommodation.

For more than 30 of those, it will be their second festive season in such circumstances.

Most families being supported by COPE Galway are being put up in hotels or B&Bs.

The charity is holding one of its main fundraisers tonight, when more than 50 business leaders take part in a 'sleep out'.

Since its inception ten years ago, the event has generated €1 million. The money is used to provide community housing, outreach programmes to assist rough sleepers and also funds a food poverty alleviation programme.

COPE Galway is hoping this evening's event will raise a €250,000.

The organisation says the difficulties for children in emergency accommodation have become more acute as a result of the pandemic. The need for families to isolate, in the event of a positive diagnosis for Covid-19, can lead to them having to move locations at extremely short notice.

The situation has been compounded by a lack of rental properties around the city.

The charity has previously raised concerns at the impact the short-term letting market is having on housing supply. In many instances, properties previously available for rent around the city and county are now leased online for shorter periods.

Funds raised as part of tonight's 'sleep out' will directly assist the hundreds of families experiencing homelessness, some with children born into the situation in recent years.