A drop in the latest homeless figures has been welcomed by homeless charities.

The monthly report from the Department of Housing shows there were 241 fewer people in emergency accommodation in March compared to the previous month.

The reduction consisted of 62 fewer adults and 179 fewer children with the number of families down by 122.

In total, there were 9,907 people homeless, which is just under 4% lower year on year.

The number of homeless families was 1,488, which is a drop of 14% year on year.

Focus Ireland and Dublin Simon both welcomed the drop. 

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy said that work continues trying to house people and safeguard those in emergency accommodation during the Covid-19 crisis.

He said: "We continue to add capacity to the system where needed to allow for isolation and social distancing and are working closely with the HSE.

"Again, I want to thank all those staff who are working on the front line through local authorities and our partner NGOs each and every day."

Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin welcomed the fall in the figures, but said it was too early to tell whether it is a Covid-19 related anomaly or part of a more general trend. 

He said: "Since the Covid-19 restrictions have come into place, there have been significant restrictions on local authorities accepting new homeless presentations.

"In some instances, individuals have been refused access to emergency accommodation and forced to sleep rough because of these restrictions."

The Dublin Region Homeless Executive has said that one-night only beds are no longer available in the capital and those from other parts of the country looking for emergency accommodation are being told to return to their own local authority area.