The 179 Supportline service received 335 calls in connection with homelessness in the first six months of this year, figures given in parliament on Tuesday show. 

Only loneliness (1,758) and mental health issues (663) prompted more calls to the helpline.

The calls about homelessness in the first half of this year were higher when compared to all of last year, when they amounted to 507.

The information was given by Social Welfare Minister Michael Falzon in reply to a question by Nationalist MP Ivan Bartolo. 

He said that between January and December last year the service received  12,515 genuine calls (on all subjects), with a further 5,505 calls between January and June this year. 

A study commissioned by the YMCA showed earlier this year that the number of homeless children in Malta was on the rise, with an especially alarming increase in the number of minors aged four or under being referred to homeless shelters. 

The study found that last year, 40 children under the age of four were referred to one of the organisation's homeless shelters, five more than 2021.   

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