More than 1,200 people have been given help to secure a home of their own this year with the support of the Peter McVerry Trust, a 50% increase on the figure for last year.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Peter McVerry Trust Chief Executive Pat Doyle said that a changed housing market with the lack of tourism and reduced corporate rentals has seen landlords move towards long-term investments with the trust.

Mr Doyle said that this had made it easier to house people who were sleeping rough.

He said that by 1 December it had housed 1,200 individuals in 850 units and that the trust will house 1,300 individuals in 900 housing units by the end of the year.

Mr Doyle said that access to the market has opened up as a result of the pandemic and it is also working closing with the Minister for Housing to access new housing schemes.

The trust has worked on a repair and lease scheme to bring disused buildings back to appropriate standards for housing so it can then house people without competing with the market and with first-time buyers.

It has also converted disused commercial units that will never reopen into residential units, with an old bank in Cork being turned into five units and an old barbers in Rush in Co Dublin being converted into a one-bed unit.

Mr Doyle said that the work done to house people across 20 counties is breathing life back into towns and generating footfall, including in Athy, where it has worked with the Tidy Towns committee to bring five derelict units into use.

He said the agency has had more success than ever at giving people "a key to the door" and changing their life for good.