Dublin's homeless services are to be given more than 350 new living spaces because of a collapse in tourist bookings.

The new accommodation will enable social distancing as a way of preventing the spread of Covid-19, according to housing authorities.

A total of 197 en-suite hotel rooms and 160 self-contained apartments in the city have become available for homeless families and individuals.

Making the announcement to city councillors, Eileen Gleeson, Director of the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE), and Brendan Kenny, Assistant Chief Executive of Dublin City Council, said this was the result of "very significant changes in the private property market".

Both hotels and short-term letting units have reported a huge drop in bookings as a result of Covid-19, and the DRHE had said previously that it hoped to use this as an opportunity.

A total of €170m was spent on homeless accommodation last year.

Another 300 "single occupancy beds" have also been created in the past two weeks, which means hostel users have a designated bed.

One-night only accommodation has been eliminated, and all hostel users can now stay 24 hours a day, with meals provided on site, which will minimise contact with others.

The extra accommodation for single people will reduce the need for sharing rooms in hostels and improve safe distancing options according to the briefing document.

It said homeless services have experienced an "unprecedented demand" in recent weeks.

However, the additional accommodation will allow hostels to provide isolation of suspected or confirmed cases of Covid-19.

"High risk" individuals are being identified and moved to "cocooning" facilities, it said.

The announcement comes after the closure on medical advice of facilities such as the Capuchin Day Centre, which provided sit down meals for hundreds of homeless people every day.