A homeless charity has said it is "alarmed" at the numbers left without support services during the Covid-19 crisis.

The Mendicity Institute, which operates a day centre mainly for European migrants, said 17% of its clients slept rough continuously during the lockdown, according to the results of a survey.

The survey also found that 82% of those using its centre were staying in privately run hostels, which do not have social workers or other supports provided in facilities run by the charities.

Louisa Santoro, CEO of the Mendicity Institute, said: "This lack or support is evidenced by very high incidences of people sleeping out.

"This does not arise out of choice but arises out of lack of access. Homeless people are paying a high price for lower standards."

The Mendicity Institute runs a day centre that provides hot meals, as well as advice on employment and integration in a number of languages.

The service users' census found that of the 123 people surveyed, 74% slept rough at least once during the Covid-19 crisis, and 60% had problems accessing services generally.

A total of 86% were migrants from Europe, and over half (54%) have now been homeless for more than two years.

Official figures show that of the 4,164 adults in emergency accommodation in May, 2,336 or 56% were staying in private emergency accommodation, which includes hotels, B&Bs and private hostels.

Around €100m was paid out to private operators last year, but the names of the companies receiving the money is not publicly revealed.

Dublin City Council and the Dublin Region Homeless Executive said in a recent joint report that the privately run hostels are subject to regular inspections and have a "good track record".

However, a planned review to compare them with those run by charities was postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.