More than 1000 people joined the waitlist for a state house in the three months to December, taking the number waiting for public housing to 10,712.
That's an increase of 73 per cent, or 4530 households, over the same time a year earlier, according to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development's Public Housing Quarterly Report out today.
Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford said "the hidden homeless" Labour warned about at the beginning of last year are continuing to come forward.
But Mr Twyford pointed out an extra 1658 public housing places have been made available in the past year, saying it's the biggest increase in state and community provided housing in a decade.
Mr Twyford said the latest figures from the quarterly report shows that the Government is pulling out all the stops to house those in need.
“Our Government has been clear that the best way to tackle the housing crisis is to build more houses, and the best way to tackle homelessness is to build more public housing - that’s exactly what we are doing," he said in a statement.
Since coming to office, the Government has built 1191 new state houses, the Minister said.
“In 2018 we increased the number of transitional housing places by 768, which will allow us to temporarily house more than 3000 more families each year.
“Each new state house and community provided home means one less family living in unacceptable circumstances, such as cars, garages and under bridges,” Mr Twyford said.
The Government has also expanded Housing First from Auckland to Tauranga, Hamilton and Christchurch in 2018.
So far the programme has helped 521 rough-sleepers in New Zealand find a permanent home, the Minister said.
“While progress is being made on building more homes, we know demand for housing continues to increase. The hidden homeless that we warned about at the beginning of last year are continuing to come forward with the Housing Register increasing to 10,712 in the last quarter.
“It’s going to take a concerted effort over many years to end homelessness. The housing crisis was created over a decade and isn’t going to be fixed overnight. We are committed to 6400 new places over the next four years,” Mr Twyford said.