Housing and homeless charity Cork Simon has said 2022 was one of its most challenging years yet, with a 33% rise in the number of people seeking its help.

Rough sleeping, demands for emergency accommodation and reliance on its soup run all increased significantly, according to the charity's Annual Impact Report for 2022.

CEO Dermot Kavanagh said "cost-of-living increases, rising inflation and already very high rents fuelled an increase in homelessness that had a significant impact right across the organisation".

Last year, the Cork charity supported an average of 64 people per night in its Emergency Shelter and Night Light compared to 39 per night in 2021.

The number of long-term homeless - people who require emergency accommodation at the shelter for more than six months - increased by 35%, to 50 people.

The nightly number of people recorded as sleeping rough on the city's streets increased by 50% to an average of nine per night in 2022, while its soup run served 6,803 hot meals last year.

A total of 1,370 men and women were supported across all Cork Simon services, an increase of 33%.

Mr Kavanagh said, despite the demands, the charity still managed to help 71 men and women move from homelessness to secure and affordable, supported and independent housing.

"Cork Simon is now supporting 204 formerly homeless people in housing with visiting support across Cork and Kerry, and 46 people in high-support housing with round-the-clock care," he added.

Among them is Declan - a former rough sleeper in his 50s who is now living in one of Cork Simon's high-support houses.

He said his life has changed totally.

"You call it rough sleeping, I call it rough resting...you're awake for the whole night...it's terrifying, it's brutally terrifying. Luckily now, the lads in the house look after me 24/7. They're unbelievable."

However, these demands have seen the charity record an unprecedented end-of-year deficit of more than €750,000.

Mr Kavanagh said it has been "working hard to address costs and increase funding; we're expecting our finances to be in much better shape by year end".