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The number of people who are homeless in Dublin has dropped “for the first time in a very long time”, Minister for Housing Simon Coveney has said.
Speaking in the Dáil, Mr Coveney said there was still a mountain to climb on the issue of housing, but “we have the November figures on homelessness in Dublin and for the first time in a very long time the number of adults and families who are homeless in Dublin has actually reduced, month on month”.
The Minister told Independent TD Michael Lowry that this week he and Taoiseach Enda Kenny had visited a new homeless shelter, which was one of three shelters to open on Friday.
He said the shelters provide 210 new beds, to make sure that everybody who needed one would get one this winter.
Referring to national homelessness figures for October, Mr Lowry had said an estimated 40 children every month were losing their homes.
“This is on top of the 2,500 children and 4,377 adults already officially recorded as homeless in October 2016,” he said.
The Tipperary TD said that, in his county, 25 people presented as homeless in 2010, but this had risen dramatically to 426 in 2015 and to more than 500 this year.
He said that, like other counties, Co Tipperary was facing a serious housing crisis.
The lack of affordable rental accommodation and social housing, along with unemployment, unrealistic rent allowance limits, unsustainable mortgage payments and evictions from owner-occupied and buy-to-let properties had created a situation where the frequency of individuals and families becoming homeless had accelerated drastically, he said.
Mr Coveney said he would be bringing a new rental strategy to Cabinet next week.
He said that dealing with the housing crisis was his number one priority.
“If the State cannot look after people who literally do not have a roof over their heads, we have to ask ourselves some very serious questions.”