WINZ's admission that they have has been using tents to house the homeless is "not acceptable" but "not surprising" says an advocate for homeless people.
Figures given to 1NEWS under the Official Information Act show in the last year 20 families have asked for hardship grants through WINZ to buy a tent to live in.
"It's not surprising, people can understand it's indicative of a system that's been under-resourced for several years," James Crow of Gimme Shelter Aotearoa told TVNZ1's Breakfast today.
"There's a clear understanding of the size of the need and then every winter we see there's reactions and services who are forced to do things as unrealistic as buy families tents to sleep in as opposed to leave them on the street.
"We need to make plans and provisions over many years and when we don't the effect can be felt for many years after," he says.
Housing Minister Phil Twyford was unaware of the practise but says it's an unacceptable way to spend hardship grants.
"It's not OK for the government to be supplying tents. It might have been acceptable under the past government it's not under ours," he said.
Mr Crow says he's glad to see that MrTwyford has stepped up informally to say that he's responsible for homelessness in New Zealand.
He says authorities need to understand how this new dynamic in our society will work because it "won't go away for a very long time".