The record number of 10,000 people now in homelessness is a “national scandal,” the Dáil heard as Tánaiste Simon Coveney came under attack for wrecking children's lives.
Opposition TDs have rounded on the government's record, calling for May's local elections to be a de-facto referendum on “failed” housing policies.
Fianna Fáil's Dara Calleary said there had been attempts to massage and keep the figures as “low as possible” but it was clear the Rebuilding Ireland plan was “not working”.
The United Nations has raised concerns about Ireland's housing crisis, local authorities are still required to build large estates for social housing and people had to be evicted before they could go on housing lists, according to the Fianna Fáil deputy leader.
Mr Coveney defended the government's record, insisting that 50,000 new social homes will be built under Rebuilding Ireland.
Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy will bring more plans to Cabinet next week to protect tenants, the Dáil also heard.
Mr Coveney insisted that more social and private housing was being built but that the problem was that these numbers were “not overtaking the pace” at which people were coming into homelessness.
Sinn Féin's Pearse Doherty also said that the new figures, which show 10,264 in homelessness including almost 4,000 children, were “an absolute and utter disgrace” and that they represent “a national scandal”.
"Maybe there is not enough emotion in this debate, we talking about real people,” added the Donegal TD.
With the latest homeless figures showing 10,264 people are now homeless across the state it is essential that @FineGael and @fiannafailparty support our legislation in the #Dáil this evening to stop landlords evicting tenants into homelessness. #housingcrisis pic.twitter.com/rTY5dv5DV0— Sinn Féin (@sinnfeinireland) March 28, 2019
Those children's lives had been "wrecked even before they had begun," he told Mr Coveney.
Solidarity-PBP TD Richard Boyd Barrett called for tenants, those on housing lists, with mortgage problems and in emergency accommodation to join a national demonstration on housing on May 18.
He also called for people to show their opinions in May's local elections and to use their vote as a referendum on the government's “failed” housing policies.