The latest homeless figures show a "very worrying trend" of continued increases in the number of families in emergency accommodation, according to Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy.

The figures show another 222 families became homeless in February.

Overall nearly 10,000 people are now homeless in the State.

Following on from another increase in January this means there were a total of 1,739 families in emergency accommodation, including 3,755 children. The year-on-year increase is 40%.

Dublin saw the biggest increase with an increase of 138 families.

The next highest figure was in the southwest where there are 91 families - an increase of more than 40% in one month.

The overall number of homeless adults is also up by another 215, with nearly half the increase in Dublin.

The southwest is again the next highest with 434 adults, an increase of nearly 16% on January.

Minister Murphy said the number of homeless single adults is down last month and the numbers sleeping rough in Dublin are down by 50% to around 90 people, according to initial indications.

However, he said the continued increase in homeless families is a very worrying trend.

He said he is awaiting reports from the Dublin Region Homeless Executive and from a new inter-agency group on the issue.

Mr Murphy pointed out that more than 2,000 families were moved out of hotels last year.

"I know that the crisis we have in homelessness is very distressing but I hope people understand that every day a huge amount of work is being put in by our teams to both prevent people from entering emergency accommodation and to exit people into sustainable tenancies as quickly as possible," he said.

"They are doing incredible work and the Government will continue to make all necessary resources available to them," Mr Murphy added.

Sinn Féin's housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin said the figures represent the "single biggest increase in child homelessness on record".

He said that contrary to claims made by the Government, the rate of "child and family homelessness is spiralling out of control."

Mr Ó Broin added that if the figures continue to increase Mr Murphy's position will be untenable.

Fianna Fáil's housing spokesperson Barry Cowen has said he is "dismayed" by the latest figures.

In a statement he said "the Government needs to offer an immediate explanation for this continued rise."