More than 1,300 households were either prevented from becoming homeless or helped out of homelessness by Dublin's Simon Community last year.

The figures are contained in the charity's annual report.

The report shows that 1,373 households in Dublin were prevented from becoming homeless or moved on from homelessness by the Simon Community last year.

They state that 729 households were supported in moving out of homelessness and into their own housing, while 576 households were prevented from going into emergency accommodation.

That figure represents an increase of 44% from 2016.

The charity said that without this intervention, an additional 1,637 adults and 1,477 children would have ended up in emergency accommodation.

The organisation's chief executive said early interventions to keep people in their homes would make a huge difference to the homelessness crisis.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Sam McGuinness said people in trouble should approach the charity as soon as possible.

"People come to Dublin City Council and all of the other local authorities at the last minute," he said.

"We need to know early on: Is there a problem? What's the nature of the problem? Can make interventions?

"We can make interventions for them, personally, with their landlords, or we can go to the local authority and say something's wrong. Or if there's something seriously wrong, then we could go to the RTB and intervene on their behalf," he said.

Mr McGuinness said something significant happened in the greater Dublin area in 2015 when the real problems with homelessness began.

He added that the real issue was not just finding family homes but helping single people who were stuck in emergency accommodation.

Mr McGuinness also said Simon had begun to buy developments and land in order to help get these people find homes.

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Mr McGuinness said the improved economic situation from 2015 contributed to the number of people in emergency accommodation.

He said that in 2015 the number of people accessing such accommodation effectively doubled.

Rising house prices meant that landlords who wanted to sort out their financial affairs were disposing of properties, he said.

He said this put people in rental accommodation under pressure and the combination of increased employment and rents resulted in people "pouring into homelessness".

Mr McGuinness warned that the high number of people in emergency accommodation would lead to a greater number of people with physical and mental health issues as the longer they are there, the more difficult it is to live a normal life.

The Simon Community in Dublin said it expanded its services to Cavan, Monaghan and Louth in 2017.

It also helped more than 6,200 people in Dublin, Wicklow, Kildare and Meath.

The organisation's annual report states that more than 350,000 meals were provided by the charity across their residential services in 2017 - up 42% since the previous year.

It also said soup run contacts averaged 600 people per month.

Dublin Simon runs the only addiction service for homeless people at Usher's Quay, which last year secured plannig permission to turn it into a 100-bed facility.

A total of 684 people were provided addiction services: a 24% increase on the previous year.

Reporting by John Kilraine and Jackie Fox