An "unprecedented" 7,000 people are now homeless in Ireland, with one family losing their home every day last month and a shocking 2,549 children now living in emergency accommodation, writes Fiachra Ó Cionnaith and Joyce Fegan.
The Department of Housing confirmed the situation yesterday amid opposition party claims Government is trying to "bury bad news" during the New Year's Eve celebrations.
Details released as part of the Department's latest homelessness update report show that at the end of November a total of 6,985 people were officially considered homeless in Ireland.
The rate includes 4,436 adults, 2,549 children and a shocking 1,205 families nationwide, and means there are now 20% more adults homeless in Ireland and 30% more families and children homeless compared to November 2015.
According to the official figures, which do not include unofficial counts, people in Tusla facilities and others in State and private domestic violence support centres who cannot safely return to their homes:
* 3,024 adults, 1,023 families and 2,110 children are now homeless in Dublin;
* 287 adults, 40 families and 104 children in the South West;
* and 74 adults, 22 families and 55 children in the Midlands.
In addition, between October and November, 27 more families and 79 children became homeless.
And while charities and campaign groups have previously warned more than 7,000 people are without a home nationwide, the 6,985 latest figure is the first time Ireland's homelessness crisis has officially reached such levels.
The Department of Housing said while there have been "significant increases in the rates of homelessness in recent times" the "root cause" remains a shortage of accommodation.
However, Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin O Broin claimed the rates are the direct result of inaction by Government and that the release of the latest update hours before the New Year's Eve celebrations is "an attempt to bury bad news".
The situation comes a fortnight after Housing Minister Simon Coveney announced plans to limit rent increases in Dublin and Cork, and as the Apollo House campaign continues to gather attention.
The full breakdown of the Department's official homelessness count for November can be read here.