Politicians are failing to take growing poverty levels seriously, according to Kieran Stafford, the national president of the Society of St Vincent De Paul.
The organisation says there has been a 25% rise in families that qualify for social housing - and a quarter of single-parent families are now living in constant poverty.
The charity is launching its pre-budget submission today - calling for government action.
Mr Stafford said: "What we are asking for is a roadmap for all of Irish society which ensures that we are heading towards positive and equtiable future.
"We want to see a situation where every child has a warm, secure home and doesn't go to school hungry."