Tauranga man Anthony Andrews has been waiting for a house to really call his own since April last year.
He told Breakfast his life is on hold while he waits and described it as "very frustrating" and "very demoralising".
"It's quite heartbreaking really, to have to wait so long to just get into a place."
Being reliant on transitional housing "really does my head in, I can tell you," Andrews admitted.
Bernie Smith, Monte Cecilia Housing Trust's chief executive, said there were more than 30,000 people throughout the country who, like Andrews, were waiting.
Although official figures put the waitlist at about 24,000, Smith said it was actually more than 30,000 due to people on the transfer list.
"Many on this list have disabilities or are in cold, mouldy state houses."
Smith said people's lives were on hold for six to 12 months as they stayed in transitional housing, waiting to get off the social housing list.
He said the trust had 200 families that could take a house today if there were any available or more than 600 tomorrow if there was stock.
Seventy per cent of those on the social housing waitlist were Pasifika, Smith said, and about 30 per cent are Māori.
Smith wanted to see more houses built and for more landlords and developers to work with the trust to lease or develop housing in an attempt to get the waitlist down.