The Dublin Simon Community has reported what it describes as a frightening increase in homelessness in recent months.

Its rough sleeper counts in Dublin city centre have shown an 88% increase on last year.

The charity, which launched its annual review today, said the figures recorded by its teams since July are the highest ever.

The most recent figures for September show the numbers have nearly tripled compared to the same period last year.

On one night this month it found 85 people sleeping rough in the core city centre area between Jervis Street and Harcourt Street.

Spokesperson Sam McGuinness said the Government's plan to end homelessness by 2016 is in real jeopardy.

The charity fears further cuts in next month's Budget will make its work extremely challenging.

It said the reasons for the increase are shortage of housing and emergency accommodation, increased rents and rent allowance restrictions.