The number of homeless people in emergency accommodation rose last month. 

It is the first time the figure has increased in six months.

According to figures published by the Department of Housing, 8,728 people were in emergency accommodation in July, an increase of 29 people compared to June.

There were 6,077 adults and 2,651 children in emergency accommodation.

1,142 of these were families, while there were 4,313 single people.

Dublin Simon Community has said that the rise in numbers is a cause for concern.

CEO of Dublin Simon Sam McGuinness said for five months, Covid-19 emergency measures curbed the flow into homelessness, providing an opportunity to get the numbers down as they continued to move people out of emergency services and into new long-term accommodation.

He said while the new legislation protects those whose income has been impacted by Covid-19, those who were already in crisis and struggling before the pandemic hit cannot be forgotten.

The Simon Communities said the recent surge in coronavirus cases combined with the growing number of single people in homelessness again raises the risks to people living in congregated settings.

The charity said it is the first time the number has increased in six months but that it is down 17% from the peak of 10,514 in October 2019.

National spokesman, Wayne Stanley said the Minister for Housing's emergency powers must be retained and used where necessary, so they can act quickly should they see ongoing surges in Covid-19 cases, such as those seen in recent weeks.

He also said the overall slight increase in those accessing homeless emergency accommodation in July is an indication that they could be reaching a "tipping point" where numbers will begin to increase again and a lot of good work will be reversed if complacency sets in.

Focus Ireland has warned of a potential bigger increase in the coming months. They called on the government to reintroduce eviction bans and rent freezes until the Covid-19 virus is controlled.

The charity has also warned about the occurrence of disruptive evictions at a time of nationwide uncertainty during the Covid-19 pandemic.

They believe homeless services across Ireland will be very stretched if a rise of homeless figures coincides with a second wave of Covid-19.

CEO of Focus, Pat Dennigan said that as children across the country go back to school we need to ensure that some of the most vulnerable children do not return to homelessness.

He said the last 6 months have proved that one of the best defences against Covid-19 is a stable home.

Mr Dennigan added that while the threat of Covid-19 remains he is asking the Minister for Housing "to reintroduce this legislation."

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson, Eoin Ó Broin, described the increase as slight but very worrying.

He said it indicated that the lifting of the ban on evictions and rent increases by the government in July was premature.

Mr Ó Broin said that the figures were on a downward trend with the Covid-19 restrictions in place and while he hoped this rise would not continue for next month's figures, he thought it would be inevitable due to what he called the row back of protections for renters.

Social Democrats spokesperson on Housing, Cian O'Callaghan, described the increase as inexcusable and very worrying.

He called on the Minister for Housing to strengthen protections for renters by eliminating no-fault evictions which he said would bring Ireland into line with many other European countries and would reduce the number of people evicted into homelessness.