Homelessness figures reached record highs in 2016

Almost 7,000 people were recorded as homeless in Ireland in November

Homeless, Dublin City Council, safe homes, Uplift, Daithi Doolan,

File photo | Image: RollingNews.ie

The homelessness figures for November were released over the Christmas break, with Sinn Féin accusing the government of making them public over the holidays in the hope that people won't notice.

2016 saw the launch and several re-launches of the Action Plan for Housing, as part of the government's efforts to tackle the housing problem. 

Most recently, rent caps were introduced in the so-called pressure zones of Dublin and Cork that would see rent increases limited to 4% per year.

However, there have been calls to extend that designation to cities such as Waterford, Limerick and Galway, where the homelessness problem is also significant.

The figures released show that almost 3,000 children were homeless in November, while 6,895 people were considered homeless in total, a number described as "unprecedented".

The figures represent an increase of 20% in the number of adults and 30% in the number of families who are homeless in Ireland when compared to November 2015. 

Sinn Fein's Eoin Ó Broin took to Twitter in the wake of the release of the report, stating that it was "hard to believe" that the timing was not an effort to "bury bad news" during the Christmas holiday season. 

However, the Department defended the move stating that it does not issue press releases on monthly homeless figures.

It comes as homelessness activists continue to occupy the NAMA owned Apollo House, housing around 50 homeless people over Christmas.

The court has ordered Home Sweet Home to vacate the property by January 11th, however the group hasn't yet said if they will leave or defy the court order.