The number of people in emergency accommodation has surpassed 12,000 for the first time.

Latest figures from the Department of Housing show 12,259 adults and children were in emergency accommodation in April.

It is a rise of 271 on March figures which recorded 11,988 as homeless.

The winter eviction ban was lifted by the Government on 1 April.

The latest figures show that 8,665 adults and 3,594 children were in emergency accommodation last month.

Executive Director of the Simon Communities Wayne Stanley has said that the country cannot stop being shocked by the scale of the crisis.

Mr Stanley said the scale of trauma crossing the threshold of homeless services is "acute" and he said social infrastructure needed to be put in place to enable people to spend less time in services.

Asked about the impact of the eviction ban being lifted, Mr Stanley said it has put additional pressure on individuals and families and there will likely be an increase in homelessness as a result.

Threshold has said the organisation is finding it increasingly challenging to prevent homelessness because landlords are continuing to leave the market.

Its CEO John-Mark McCafferty said while the lifting of the eviction ban "certainly will have impacted", however, he pointed out that at some point there would have been a situation regardless of where landlords would be able to issue those notices.

He welcomed initiatives by the Government like the Tenant in Situ Scheme, where the house that a landlord is selling can be bought by a local authority or an approved housing body, however, he said those numbers are relatively small compared to the volumes of notices of termination.

'Another appalling milestone'

The homeless charity Depaul has said the latest figures show that "another appalling milestone" has been passed.

In a statement, it said the team was "hugely disappointed" to see that the number of people in emergency accommodation has continued to increase.

There was an increase of 94 families and a rise of 122 children in emergency accommodation last month

While the charity welcomed the Government's commitment to increase housing delivery, it said today's report from the Department of Housing highlighted "the critical need for targets to be ramped up to reflect the urgency of current housing demands to get people out of temporary accommodation".

CEO David Carroll pointed out that one in two Depaul service users were staying in the charity's emergency accommodation services beyond the recommended six-month stay.

Mr Carroll said people are living through a "pandemic of poverty and survival".

There was also an increase of 94 families and a rise of 122 children in emergency accommodation last month.

This means there has been a 32% increase in family homelessness in one year according to Focus Ireland which it has described as a "deeply worrying trend" that is rapidly reaching "the appalling levels" before the pandemic.

Focus Ireland CEO Pat Dennigan said it highlighted the need for reform of the law so that all local authorities are required to consider the best interests of children when working with families at risk of homelessness.

He also pointed out that lifting the eviction ban did not have an immediate impact on all tenants at risk and the impact would be seen through May and June depending on the date of the original termination of tenancy.

The charity has said that many families may not immediately present to frontline services after being evicted from their homes but may instead be part of the so-called "hidden homeless" for some time by staying with friends or family and couch surfing.

Focus Ireland has said that homelessness is having a wider negative impact right across society in the long term.

Despite being one of the wealthiest nations on earth, it said that too many people are experiencing anxiety, insecurity and stress due to the failure of the housing system.

Sinn Féin's housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin called on the Government to immediately reinstate the ban on no-fault evictions.

Speaking to RTÉ's Drivetime, he said emergency measures are required to reduce the flow of people into emergency accommodation and to increase the amount of social and affordable homes.

He called for the use of emergency procurement and planning measures and high-quality modular homes.