Simon Coveney admits the government is "running to stand still"
Minister for Housing Simon Coveney has reiterated his commitment to ending the use of hotels for homeless accommodation, except in limited circumstances, by mid-2017.
Mr Coveney was speaking at a briefing to provide an update on the progress of a major plan against homelessness, launched two months ago.
The event came just days after a report showed that over half of people in emergency accommodation have been homeless for more than two years.
The minister said that good progress has been made so far, claiming that 1,350 people have exited homelessness in the first six months of this year.
Under the 'Rebuilding Ireland' plan, an additional 200 emergency beds will be provided for rough sleepers by the end of 2016, at a cost of up to €4m.
The commitments include:
However, Mr Coveney admitted that the government is "running to stand still" because of the numbers in need of emergency accommodation.
"There's a view that this problem is getting worse and worse and worse, and nobody is doing anything about it," he said.
"That isn't a fair reflection. There are people working night and day but they're not keeping pace with the numbers coming into homelessness. That's the problem."
Focus Ireland has welcomed the additional details presented at today’s relaunch but warned that more needs to be done to halt the rise in homeless figures.
The charity revealed last week that 72 families became newly homeless in Dublin in August alone.
Director Mike Allen said: "The minister has repeatedly referred to tackling homelessness being like trying to empty the bath with the taps full on but there is very little in this plan to turn off the taps now."