As he was honored at the People of the Year Awards, Fr. Peter McVerry made a shocking revelation that the category most affected by homelessness in Ireland are children under the age of four.
The activist made a passionate speech about the housing crisis as he was honored at the ceremony.
The homelessness campaigner (73) also stated that the crisis will not end in his lifetime.
“We’re the fifth wealthiest country in the world according to the IMF, we have the fastest growing economy in the EU, we’re in our fifth year of economic recovery. There’s thousands of empty houses and apartments all over the country," he told the audience at the Mansion House.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and the President's wife Sabina Higgins were among those in attendance.
McVerry told the Herald newspaper that children must remain at the forefront.
"We have to wait and see how children will be affected in years to come," he said. "They're psychologically damaged already by the experience."
Their education is going to suffer. You're in the class but your mind is somewhere else."
"Our objective is to become redundant. It's not going to happen in my lifetime anyway," he said.
McVerry has called for the Government to stop relying on the private sector and build social housing to help tackle the issue.
"It's going to get a lot worse. There are more than 32,000 houses in mortgage arrears for more than two years," he said.
"We're going to see a lot of home repossessions in the next few years. The European Central Bank is putting huge pressure on banks to get rid of these mortgages over the next few years," he added.