The number of people living in emergency accommodation fell from 9,891 to 9,527 in August, according to the Department of Housing’s latest homeless figures.
Some 5,834 adults and 3,693 children stayed in hotels, hostels and other temporary facilities last month, the lowest level of homelessness since January.
August marked the first month that homelessness has decreased since last Christmas although the total is still up year-on-year.
The decline is a result of the recategorisation of houses and apartments owned by local authorities and approved housing bodies, which had previously been reported as emergency accommodation.
Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy said he was ‘satisfied’ that the figures now correctly measure the number of homeless families and individuals.
‘My department will be working closely with the local authorities to support these individuals and families into secure tenancies,’ he added.
Simon spokesperson Niamh Randal said the reclassification was ‘confusing’ and that the figures still don’t include rough sleepers or people in squats, refuges and direct provision.
‘There is confusion on the re-categorisation of households which the department acknowledge have been removed from the figures,’ she said.
‘If people are living in temporary apartments or houses, paid for by Section 10, this is still deemed emergency accommodation. Where are these figure recorded and reported on?
‘This report shows a drop in the numbers of people living in emergency accommodation but as we are no longer comparing like with like in terms of previous report methodology, it is nearly impossible to compare the two.’
Commenting on the figures, Focus Ireland CEO Pat Dennigan said: ‘There is no other area of national statistics where this level of confusion would be tolerated.
‘The inability of the Government to produce reliable and clear figures on the number of people who are homeless does not inspire confidence.
‘We need to always remember that behind every statics and number is a person or family that needs a place to call home.’
An estimated 3,944 homeless people, or around 68pc of the total figure, were living in Dublin, with 238 families presenting to homeless services in the region last month, according to the Dublin Region Homeless Executive.
A total of 430 homeless people (7pc) were living in the south-west (329 in Cork, 101 in Kerry), and the mid-west had 270 people in emergency accommodation between Clare (68) and Limerick (302).