The number of people sleeping rough in Dublin has increased to 156, according to the latest official count.

That is up from 110 in the spring count.

However it is 15% down on the last winter count of 184, which was the highest ever.

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy said he has been assured by Dublin City Council that there will be enough extra beds to meet demand this winter.

The Rough Sleeper Count is carried out every spring and winter by 100 volunteers.

The count found that city centre locations like Henry Street had fewer rough sleepers, but there were increases in other areas like Rathmines.

The count found that 67% of the rough sleepers were male, 17% female and the rest unidentified.

A total of 54% were Irish, 17% from other countries and 29% unidentified.

The Dublin Region Homeless Executive recently announced that another 233 beds - both permanent and temporary - are in the process of being made available as part of this year’s Cold Weather Initiative.

There are now 4,027 emergency beds for adults in Dublin - a 50% increase since January 2016.

Homelessness charity Depaul Ireland is currently converting its hostel in Little Britain Street, which was provided as a one-night-only facility during the 2016 Cold Weather Initiative, into an 85-bed six-month-stay facility.

David Carroll, director of services at Depaul Ireland, said there needs to more concentration on accommodation for homeless single people.

He said his organisation says the profile of homeless single people is changing as they are younger and from a wider range of backgrounds.

Separately, an independent councillor has said that DCC is providing an "economic incentive" by providing free hotel rooms to homeless families.

Cllr Ruairi McGinley said that families in hotels and B&Bs are not required to pay anything towards the cost of their accommodation.

He said people in family hubs pay up to €42 a week, and those in hostel accommodation pay between €4 and €11.25 a night but there is a "zero charge" for hotel rooms.

Mr McGinley said offering free accommodation has led to huge increase in demand.

He was criticised by a large number of councillors with chairperson of the Housing Committee, Sinn Féin Cllr Daithí Doolan, describing his comments as "ignorant and arrogant".

Mr Doolan said "free beds are not causing homelessness and every report has blown that myth out of the water".

The exchange occurred during a debate on the monthly Social Housing Report which set out a target of 9,094 units to be provided between 2018 and 2021 in the city council area.

The report from assistant chief executive Brendan Kenny stated that this figure includes local authority new build, acquisitions, refurbishment or voids, leasing and Part V, as well as activity by Approved Housing Bodies.

It does not include subsidised rent through the Housing Assistant Payment scheme.