Leading NGOs in Ireland have called for urgent action to address hidden homelessness.
Barnardos, Focus Ireland, Simon Communities in Ireland and Society of St Vincent de Paul say they are deeply concerned about the thousands of individuals, families and children who are experiencing hidden homelessness.
In a statement from Barnardos, the groups have said: "These individuals and families have no place to call home and are often doubling and tripling up, staying with friends or relatives as they have nowhere else to go.
"Their living situation is precarious, unsuitable and unsustainable.
"Despite experiencing many of the same challenges faced by those living in emergency accommodation, those experiencing hidden homelessness don’t qualify for many support services."
The group also identified a number of policy recommendations which would help prevent hidden homelessness, support those already living in hidden homelessness and reduce the number of people who have no choice but to turn to emergency accommodation.
The four NGOs are raising awareness of the lived experience of these individuals and families through sharing the real and personal stories of what it is like experiencing hidden homelessness.
Fergus Finlay, CEO of Barnardos has said that hidden homelessness has "profound effects" on a child's development.
He said: "These children are failing to meet their developmental milestones and falling behind in school.
"The uncertainty of where they’ll live and seeing the stress experienced by their parents leave them worried and anxious for their future."
One in five children helped by Barnardos is experiencing 'hidden homelessness'.
The charity part of a new campaign being launched today to highlight the issue.
Along with Focus Ireland, the Simon Community and the Vincent de Paul Society, they want to draw attention to people living in squats or sleeping on friends' sofas.
CEO of Barnardos, Fergus Finlay, said living in cramped conditions is having a devastating impact on children in particular.
He said: "The problems that go with that, that are cropping up on a day to day basis, range from delays in development miles stones to some very very basic things; difficulty in toilet training, difficulty in learning to crawl and walk because of lack of space."