A report by the European Commission has given a scathing analysis of Ireland's homelessness policies.
The report is critical of the government's reliance on the private sector to deliver social housing solutions and said that there are "serious gaps" in the definition and recording of the extent of homelessness.
Monthly releases of data "do not cover rough sleeping, hidden homelessness, those in long-term supported accommodation or families in domestic violence refuges," according to the report, which was compiled by the European Social Policy Network (ESPN), a body established by the European Commission to provide "high-quality and timely independent information, advice, analysis and expertise on social policy issues in the European Union".
According to the most recent government statistics published, there were 10,275 people recorded as homeless. More than one-third of these are children and the number of families has increased by 178% since June 2015.
The ESPN report described Ireland's "operational definition of homelessness" as "narrow and contested" as it omits those staying with family or friends, living in squats, staying in domestic violence refuges or sleeping rough.
"Housing vulnerability is much less recognised, which among other things means that prevention is not prominent in the Irish approach," it states.
"The current reality in Ireland is that the statistics are unreliable and incomplete".
ESPN also notes that there "is an almost exclusive reliance on the voluntary sector" for the provision of homelessness services in Ireland.
It also criticises the government's recording of statistics related to re-housing, noting that it leads to inflated figures for the numbers apparently leaving homelessness.
"Re-housing in Ireland used to mean people moving into a local authority housing but over time this has come to mean anyone moving into anywhere away from a shelter," the report said.
The report is critical of stock and supply and recommends an increase in the number of local authority builds and strengthening of rights for private renters.
Reliance on the private rented market to provide social housing solutions has grown and grown.
"Against this backdrop it is difficult to see the Irish situation being significantly improved until the low end of the housing market is again supplied with local authority homes," it notes.