The homelessness crisis in Cork has worsened by almost 40% compared to this time last year, according to newly released figures.
Between March 21 and 27 last year, the Government's Housing Department recorded 213 people here who were without a home.
Last month however - between March 20 and 26 - the Department recorded 295 people who were homeless in Cork. This represents a rise of 38.5% in the last year alone.
Nationwide, there are now almost 7,500 homeless people in Ireland. This figure includes 2,563 children who are currently without a home – the highest number of homeless children in the country since records began.
Homelessness charity Focus Ireland described the figures as “disappointing”.
“It is vital to always remember that behind every one of these numbers is a man or woman who is sleeping rough on the street or on the floor in a night café. This is wrong and totally unacceptable. We all need to leave no stone unturned in our efforts to end this terrible and unacceptable human crisis,” said spokesperson Roughan Mac Namara.
Meanwhile, Housing Minister Simon Coveney described the latest statistics as “a stark indicator” of the challenges facing the Government, and the country.
“We remain focused and determined to address this problem,” he said.
“We remain committed to finding more homes for people who find themselves homeless, we remain fully focused on increasing supply, which is at the core of our various housing challenges. There are no quick fix solutions here, but I will continue to work with my colleagues in Government and all stakeholders to address the major challenge that is homelessness.”
The Cork South Central representative also drew attention to the fact that 3,052 households exited homelessness in 2016 – which is a substantial increase on the 2,300 exits achieved the previous year.
“This reflects the significant resources being applied... We are committed to a higher number exiting in 2017.”