The number of people homeless in Ireland is likely double or treble the official figure, according to Fr Peter McVerry.
He was speaking as a new poll suggested a hardening of public attitudes towards refugees - with 49% of people surveyed saying they are unhappy with the Government's handling of the crisis.
Fr McVerry told Newstalk Breakfast this is now past the point of crisis.
"We're beyond crisis point at this stage," he said.
"We have record numbers of people who are homeless who are registered, but there are a huge number - thousands - of homeless people who are not registered.
"People who are not registered include people sleeping rough, women and children in domestic refugees who cannot return home [and] at least 5,000 asylum seekers who have been given permission to stay in Ireland [and] can't leave the Direct Provision places.
"Probably the number of homeless people is double or treble the 11,600 that we have at the moment".
Protests 'stoking fears'
Asked about a perceived hardening of attitudes towards refugees, he said the protests are being driven by far-right groups.
"It's certainly true that the influx of refugees is putting a strain on services, including accommodation services, medical services, education services... and there is maybe some sort of backlash," he said.
"What I'm heartened by is that the protests in areas like Ballymun … the people of Ballymun have come out publicly to say they do not support those protests.
"I think it is obviously organised by a small, far-right group whose only interest is in stoking fears and presenting themselves in the solution to those fears in the hope that they will get more support - and maybe at some stage in the future get a few votes for an election.
"These protests are all about the far-right groups, not about the refugees".
What can be done?
Fr McVerry said modular homes should play a bigger role.
"I think we need to increase our use of modular homes," he said.
The Government have bought 700 modular homes, [but] they could buy 7,000 modular homes.
"We need to bring back into use all the empty buildings that we see on every street in every town in the country.
"The Government needs to meet its own targets for housing, for social housing," he added.