The Irish Council for Social Housing claims that social housing could help NAMA take thousands of unsold homes off the property market while providing accommodation for those in need.
The ICSH says the recession has meant less capital funding for social housing while the need for such accommodation has risen significantly.
The council claims that with proper financing housing associations would be able to take up to 10,000 homes off the balance sheets in banks or from NAMA in the coming years.
The ICSH is to debate this and other key related issues at its Biennial Social Housing Conference which takes place in Athlone next week.
Over 300 delegates are expected to attend the conference.