It is “hard to predict” when homelessness will drop, Darragh O’Brien has said.
Last week’s figures revealed there were 12,259 people accessing emergency accommodation in April - the highest figure on record.
The Housing Minister said he “absolutely accept I’m the Minister with responsibility” and insisted there are reasons for optimism.
“Thankfully, we’ve seen a substantial increase in supply [of housing] last year,” he told The Hard Shoulder.
“We’re working very hard to increase further the supply this year - both social and affordable homes - and yes, indeed, private homes too.”
Last year, there were 29,851 new homes built in Ireland and Minister O’Brien said this “exceeded our target by over 5,000 new homes”.
He also said there had been a “substantial decrease” in number of people on the social housing waiting list and there was an increase in the number of first time buyers.
“One in two new properties bought were bought by first time buyers,” he said.
“Many first time buyers are in rental accommodation and don’t want to be and they’ve been able to buy homes through schemes like the First Home Scheme and the Help To Buy grant.”
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said his housing priority is increasing private ownership - a sentiment Minister O’Brien declined to echo.
“My priority as Housing Minister is making sure that we provide good affordable housing for people who want to buy,” he said.
“And I believe in home ownership… but it’s not at the expense of social housing.
“All [types of housing] interact with each other; we need good public housing.”
Minister O’Brien said he often meets people newly living in social housing and that the “difference it makes to them and their families is immense”.
Main image: Minister for Housing Darragh O'Brien.