The Taoiseach has said it will be a challenge for the Minister for Housing to eliminate the use of hotels for homeless people by the end of June.

Enda Kenny was responding to Independents4change TD Joan Collins who said there were over 800 families still living in hotels who would not be moved to suitable accommodation before the 1st of July as promised by Simon Coveney.

Speaking during Leaders' Questions in the Dáil, Deputy Collins said "even homeless hubs will not be ready by July...and moving families from one emergency accommodation to another will not suffice".

She described a proposal to "gift 800 sites, owned by local authorities to private developers" for house building as "incredible". 

"This has been described as the sale of the century, I would describe it as the sell-out of the century", she said.

"Isn't it time end the madness, and build 50,000 units on these lands", she added.

Mr Kenny said Deputy Collins' solution was "facile"

"Unlike you, we have to build the houses, you have to have someone with the blocks and concrete to build the houses" he said.  

Mr Kenny read out a list of areas where it is planned to build new homes.

"Construction is under way to build rapid build homes for people who need them" he said.

"The challenge here is for Minister Coveney to deal with the question of not having the use of hotels by the end of June.

"My information here is that there are about 600 families in this situation.

"You will see a very substantial drop in that number by the end of June, they are very focused on moving that along now" he added.

Deputy Collins said: "It is a fantasy to suggest that the private sector, responsible for the problem in the first place is now going to be become part of the solution".

She called on local authorities to build 50,000 new homes on local authority sites.

Earlier today, the national spokesperson for the Simon Communities of Ireland said the number of properties available to rent for people dependent on State housing benefits has fallen since November.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Niamh Randall said during a three-day survey by the organisation in March, a total of 600 properties were available to rent, of which 72 homes were within rent supplement and Housing Assistance Payments limits.

Ms Randall said this was down from 112 homes cited in the November 2016 study.

"There's a reduction in overall supply, but then there's a squeezing out of those in receipt of these housing benefits and people on low incomes," Ms Randall said.

"The gap between rent supplement and HAP and market rent is continuing to increase."

She said the "key thing" is to keep people in their homes.