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Stronger housing rights urged amid warning fall in homeless numbers 'a blip'

Campaigners have urged the Government to give tenants stronger rights amid concern that a slight fall in homeless numbers is only a blip.

Official figures show 1,023 families were in homeless accommodation in greater Dublin at the end of November - three fewer than the previous month.

The report by Housing Minister Simon Coveney's office also found 1,368 mothers or fathers with 2,110 children had no home.

Some 780 families with 1,608 children were forced to shelter in hotels.

The Peter McVerry Trust cautiously welcomed the slight decline, but it said rent regulation and better rights for tenants need to be included in next week's rental strategy if a new trend is to be created.

There was a slight drop in the homeless figures this time last year followed by 11 months of increases.

The charity's chief executive Pat Doyle said: "Unfortunately, we've been here before and this drop is more likely to be a blip than the start of a trend."

He said affordable and secure accommodation is the only way in which the figures will start to decline long-term.

Mr Coveney said: " I have said that it will take time to turn the tide on homelessness for both families and individuals. Today's figures are noted but are a stark reminder of the difficulties which we still face in dealing with homelessness."

The minister reaffirmed the commitment to stop using hotels for emergency accommodation by the middle of next year.

The Dublin Simon Community also said the slight reduction is encouraging.

But spokesman Sam McGuinness said: " We must build on these successful initiatives and intensify efforts to ensure the rate of homelessness further reduces over the coming months and move on to tenancies increases."

Dublin Simon called for more detail on efforts to tackle issues in the rental sector and utilise housing stock.

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