Government figures show there has been a decrease in the number of homeless people. 

The figures from the Department of Housing show that there were 5,508 adults without accommodation last month, which is 16 below the previous month. 

The number of families in emergency accommodation has decreased by 122 to 1,408. 

The number of homeless children last month is put at 3,079.

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy welcomed the figures as a sign of good progress, but charities warned that the homeless figures traditionally drop in December before rising again in January.

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Family homelessness is now at its lowest level since June last year.

Adult homelessness is increasing in some areas including Dublin where the number of men increased by 64.

Mr Murphy said "a lot of good work was done in 2017" with 4,000 adults exiting homelessness.

He said: "Obviously we still have more work to do to help children and families in to secure homes, but this is good progress for those families who were accommodated during the month of December."

However, the Government has a long way to go in reducing numbers, as the number of homeless families last month was nearly double the figure from two years ago.

Focus Ireland said a small monthly drop in family homelessness is positive, but it warned that the annual figures show a 17% increase in the last year.

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Focus Ireland Advocacy Director Mike Allen said: "Any drop in the numbers is good news as it means less families and children suffering the trauma of being homeless.

"However, while we don't want to be negative we do have to be realistic and the figures clearly show that there was a 17% rise in the numbers of families homeless last year.

"Last year was the worst year for homelessness in the history of the State. More men, women and children experienced homelessness than ever before in our history, and they experienced it for longer.

"There is always a seasonal drop in the number becoming homeless every December and then a spike in the numbers come January.

"This is due to a number of reasons such as extended family taking people in for Christmas but the situation is not sustainable and we regrettably expect to see a return to the rising pattern in January as we do each year at this time."

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Roughan McNamara, Focus Ireland's Advocacy Manager, said it was typical to have a slight dip in December figures, as often it is a time when families are "able to put people up" in their homes.

He said Focus Ireland worked with the State last year to help 700 families escape homelessness.