There has been a big drop in the number of homeless with over 500 fewer people in emergency accommodation, according to the latest monthly figures.

Homeless services say the ban on evictions and a greater availability of accommodation following travel restrictions are among the reasons for the reduction.

Nationally there were 9,335 people living in emergency accommodation in April, a reduction of 572 on the previous month - consisting of 290 fewer adults and 282 fewer children.

In Dublin, the figures are the lowest in nearly four years and the number of children in emergency accommodation has been reduced by 400 since January.

The reduction has been welcomed by homeless charities such as Depaul Ireland, Peter McVerry Trust, Dublin Simon, Focus Ireland and Barnardos.

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy said the fall was not due to increased availability of temporary accommodation.

"The reduction in the homeless numbers has been achieved due to a significant number of households moving from emergency accommodation to tenancies. Individuals and families accommodated in short-term accommodation secured in recent weeks, as part of the response to COVID-19, continue to be included in the homeless figures."

Assistant chief executive with Dublin City Council Brendan Kenny said in a statement to councillors that the Government's ban on evictions, families remaining at home during the pandemic rather than presenting for emergency accommodation, and the greater supply of housing were reasons for the reduction.

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But he said credit is due to the staff in the homeless executive who have worked hard through the pandemic in securing accommodation for those in emergency accommodation.

Mr Kenny said there may be problems after the Covid 19 crisis if the ban on evictions is ended and if family breakdowns increase again.

There will also be less emergency accommodation available when hotels and apartments go back to the tourism industry.

However, he said there is a continuing increase in the supply of social housing.

Reacting to the figures Roughan McNamara of Focus Ireland said the figures confirm the need for a permanent restriction on the eviction of tenants.