Sinn Féin has claimed the true level of homelessness in Ireland is closer to 13,000 and not 10,000, as official figures suggest.

The party's housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin said the figures published each month only include Department of Housing funded emergency accommodation.

However, he said that the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, through Tusla, also funds emergency and step-down accommodation.

"All in all there are approximately 12,805 people accessing emergency accommodation in this State. Far more than the 9,724 currently counted by the Government," Mr Ó Broin said.

The Director of Advocacy with Focus Ireland has said  Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy has introduced unnecessary confusion into the debate.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, Mike Allen said while he did not want to get drawn into a political debate, there was a "factual debate that the Government is no longer counting 1,600 people that were homeless as homeless anymore".

Mr Allen said the response to homelessness has been the provision of more and more emergency beds, with the result that there are now 50% more such beds in Dublin than there were in 2016.

However he said: "The answer to homelessness is not more night shelters, it is homes. 

"We are not building homes fast enough, or in sufficient numbers, to deal with the problem."

Mr Allen also discussed a Focus Ireland report on your families - with parents 25 years old or younger - who are homeless following their first attempt at independent living.

He said this group make up 10% of homeless families and have particular needs.

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Mr Allen said: "Everybody who has children knows how difficult it is to be a new parent, everybody who has left home knows how hard it is to set up your own living arrangements, and we have read and heard how appalling it is to be homeless. To do all three at the same time is extremely hard on these families."

He said many of these families cannot get private rented accommodation due to the fact they have no track record of paying rent, having often lived in a family home up to that point, and are unattractive to landlords; while they are also at the end of the queue for social housing.

Earlier this year, Minister Eoghan Murphy said that hundreds of people had been removed from the homelessness figures as they were no longer in emergency accommodation.

Last month, the Oireachtas Housing Committee heard there is still confusion over the recent recategorisation of figures.