As many as 9,100 people are sleeping rough on the streets of the UK every night according to a new report published by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

There are also over 78,180 families, including 120,170 children, who are in temporary accommodation.

The definition of Homelessness under law includes rough sleepers, single people in hostels and those in temporary accommodation.

The report also warned of the "hidden homeless," people housed by family and friends in vulnerable circumstances who are not included in official figures. They are more commonly referred to as "sofa surfers."

Two-fifths of 16-25-year-olds in the UK have sofa-surfed at some point because they had nowhere to live according to polling conducted by research consultancy ComRes.

Sofa surfers tend to be young people often resort to this because of parents being unable or unwilling to provide housing. The extended family is often unable to help and splitting up with partners. Tenancies ending, rent arrears, domestic abuse and leaving care have also contributed.

Ursula Patten, director of charity Key Unlocking Futures, which provides drop-in services for homeless people told the BBC that sofa surfers should definitely be considered homeless.

"You are homeless if you haven't got a place you can stay on a consistent basis - somewhere that you can call home."

She says about 70 percent of the homeless young people on the charity's records have sofa-surfed before running out of options and seeking help.

There has been a 134 percent increase in rough sleepers since 2011, according to the report whilst the number of those living in temporary accommodation has risen by over 60 percnet in the last seven years, when the Conservatives came to power.

What is the Government's response to this?

A Government spokesperson said,‘Tackling homelessness is a complex issue with no single solution, but we are determined to help the most vulnerable in society.

"That’s why we are providing over £1bn up to 2020 to reduce all forms of homelessness and rough sleeping and we are bringing in the Homelessness Reduction Act, which is the most ambitious reform in decades, to ensure people get support sooner.

"In addition, we have established a Rough Sleeping and Homelessness Reduction Taskforce across government, with support from experts, so we can respond as effectively as possible."

The report said the Department for Communities and Local Government’s attitude to reducing homelessness has been ‘unacceptably complacent’, with limited action that has lacked urgency.

Whilst the committee agrees that the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 will “no doubt help,” it has criticised the department for relying on it too heavily, as it says it needs to be matched by a "renewed focus" on tackling the housing crisis which is the underlying cause of homelessness.

The most common and increasingly rising reason for homelessness overall is the end of an assured short-hold tenancy, which allows landlords to evict tenants after an initial fixed term without legal justification.

In the Autumn Budget, funding was announced to allow local authorities to increase the supply of new homes but the report says that the department's plans to target this funding at local authorities are flawed as they will be ready to spend the money quickly rather than targeting those with the greatest shortage of housing so local authorities who are not quite ready will miss out.

They added that the Government's target to eliminate rough sleeping entirely in ten years time will only address the "tip of the iceberg" as there is an "unacceptable shortage" of housing options for the homeless or those vulnerable to homelessness in the future.

Who is prioritised in regards to housing?

Priority is usually given to those in vulnerable circumstances including families with children, disabled people, those leaving their homes as a result of violence and those who have left the care system amongst others.

However, it should also be noted that there is a large group of people who aren't considered vulnerable enough. For example, single adults with no children who don't have any of the specific additional vulnerabilities listed above will generally not be entitled to housing if they become homeless.

What has the Government's response been since the report came out?

The DCLG’ has only just acknowledged that its ‘light touch’ approach has not worked, said the report.

However, Prime Minister Theresa May has defended the government's record. When asked by Labour MP Rosena Allin-Khan during Prime Minister's Questions,“When will this austerity-driven government say enough is enough and put an end to this tragedy?” regarding the 2,500 children would wake up homeless in Wandsworth, South London, alone on Christmas Day, she accused Allin-Khan of confusing the public. “Anyone hearing that will assume that means 2,500 children will be sleeping on our streets. It does not mean that,” she said.

“It’s important that we are clear about this for all those who hear those questions because as we all know, families with children who are accepted as homeless will be provided with accommodation and I would also point out to Hon Members opposite that statutory homelessness is lower now than it was for most of the period of the last Labour government.”

May added: “This government has lifted hundreds of thousands of children out of absolute poverty.”

Politicians on Twitter questioned her response:

What about other parts of the UK?

Meanwhile, Welsh First Minister, Carwyn Jones, has announced a cash injection of £10m and stated that it is his personal passion to bring an end to youth homelessness by 2027 although the Welsh Government had initially announced £20m in their draft budget published in October.

In Scotland, over 36,000 Christmas meals have been donated to the homeless this festive season after it was revealed by non-profit organisation, Street Soccer Scotland who aim to eradicate poverty that one-third of Scots know someone at risk of homelessness.

What do the opposition party say about this?

Labour housing spokesman John Healey said: ‘This damning cross-party report shows that the Conservatives have caused the crisis of rapidly rising homelessness but have no plan to fix it.

"This Christmas, the increase in homelessness is visible in almost every town and city in the country, but today’s report confirms ministers lack both an understanding of the problem and any urgency in finding solutions."