The number of people homeless and living in emergency accommodation is at record levels.

Latest figures show that in March, there were 10,305 adults and children without a home and living in hotels, B&Bs and family hubs, an increase of 41 on the previous month.

The number of children in emergency accommodation now stands at 3,821, a rise of 37.

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy said considerable efforts were being made to prevent people from entering into emergency accommodation, while also exiting families and individuals from homelessness each month.

He described the increase as "slight" and said it comprised of four additional adults and 37 additional children.

The number of homeless people in emergency accommodation officially broke the 10,000 mark in February.

Reacting to the latest increase, the charity Inner City Helping Homeless said it was clear that Government policy has been a total failure.

The charity said the true homeless figure could actually be closer to 20,000 as those sleeping rough, families in women's shelters, people living in direct provision, and people 'couch surfing' are not included in the data released today by the department.

Its CEO, Anthony Flynn, also said the detrimental impact homelessness was having on children an adults was immeasurable.

Focus Ireland said that the deepening problem would not be ended without a shift in Government policy.

The charity said since the crisis began, Dublin has acquired thousands of extra emergency homeless beds, but has fewer social houses.

It said the delivery of social housing nationwide was also failing to meet the demand.

It said its own figures show that 82 families became newly homeless in March of this year, which was the same number as March 2018.