|DUBLIN, Mar. 29, 2018 -- Another 222 families became homeless in Ireland in February, bringing to 1,739 the total number of such families in the country as of the end of last month, said an official here on Wednesday.
Eoghan Murphy, Irish Minister for Housing, told local media that the February figure for homeless families in the country represented a 40 percent increase compared with a year ago.
The latest homeless figures showed a "very worrying trend" of continued increases in the number of families in emergency accommodation, he said, adding that the homeless families involved nearly 10,000 people including 3,755 children.
Out of the 222 homeless families recorded in February, 138 were in the country's capital Dublin with the balance to be held in other parts of the country, especially the country's southwest, said the minister.
Murphy said that the government has put a huge amount of work to both prevent people from entering emergency accommodation and to exit people into sustainable tenancies as quickly as possible.
He said that over 2,000 families were moved out of emergency accommodation hotels last year as a result of the government's efforts in dealing with the homeless issue in the country.
The minister vowed that the government will continue to make all necessary resources available to homeless people.
Eoin O Broin, housing spokesman of the opposition party Sinn Fein, said that contrary to the claims made by the government, the rate of "child and family homelessness is spiralling out of control."
Another opposition party Fianna Fail said in a statement that the party is dismayed by the latest figures and they demanded the government to offer immediate explanation for this continued rise.
The rise of the homeless family numbers in Ireland is believed to be partially related to the recent rapid increase in the country's house rents, especially in Dublin where house rents have reportedly surpassed the peak time level prior to the financial crisis by nearly 30 percent.