Having to share rooms in homeless hostels is "an insult to the dignity" of people, Father Peter McVerry has said.

Many people do not feel safe in shared rooms, he added.

Fr McVerry explained how many homeless people often have to share a room with up to six others and sometimes they will be sharing with someone who is using drugs.

Another big concern, he said, is that people are being robbed during the night in these shared rooms.

Speaking on RTÉ's This Week, he said he receives complaints daily from homeless people who say their property was stolen by someone in the room in the hostel.

Everyone should have a "lockable partition space" at the very least so they can go to bed without the threat of being assaulted or robbed, he added.

Fr McVerry also said he would like to see the temporary eviction ban extended to two or three years.

Addressing the housing crisis, he expressed concern about the level of vacant properties "everywhere".

A quick solution, he said, would be if every local authority imitated what happened in Waterford where 60 properties were brought back into use.

He also described his frustration at how the Kenny report from 50 years ago, which contained measures for controlling the price of building land in the interests of the common good, is not being looked at for solutions to the housing crisis. "Why are we not even discussing it?"

The number of people in emergency accommodation nationwide surpassed 11,000 last month, the highest number ever recorded.

Figures released by the Department of Housing on Friday showed there were 11,397 people in emergency accommodation in October.

There were 7,917 adults and 1,601 families accessing emergency accommodation in the month, including 3,480 children.


'I just want to create a successful life' - From homeless to hopeful


Fr McVerry also warned that a failure to provide adequate housing is "creating problems", as more people arrive from Ukraine or seek international protection.

He said: "It is creating a sense of racism that they are taking our accommodation, that they are taking our jobs. I think that is totally unnecessary. We could have accommodation."

Fr McVerry said Ireland is in a "disaster zone" when it comes to the provision of housing: "We're in a car, hurtling towards the cliff edge, and the breaks have failed."

He added: "We're really in a deep, deep crisis. There simply isn't the accommodation available for the people who need it, and it doesn't look likely that there is going to be anything like sufficient accommodation ... in the near future."

Fr McVerry said a particular responsibility lay with Local Authorities to bring properties back into use.

He said: "If every Local Authority imitated Waterford and brought 50 or 60 empty units back into use every year, we could have an extra 2,000 units available."

He added: "If the unregulated Airbnb's were brought back into use, we'd have thousands more units available for accommodation. There are things we can do. I'm very depressed at the slow pace, the snail's pace. "