A leading advocate for adequate social housing says 2012 was the worst year he has experienced in 20 years of working in South Auckland.
Campbell Roberts from the Salvation Army says the desperate housing situation is highlighted by the fact that in the past five years, the number of people receiving the maximum accommodation supplement has almost doubled from 45,000 to 85,000.
Mr Roberts says this shows the supplement is not keeping up with rents and people are having to spend a larger and larger proportion of their money on housing.
He says finding cheaper accommodation is also fraught with problems, because it is often grossly inadequate.
"What's been really desperate for our staff is that often you've got to refer people to housing that you really know is not the best, but it's the only place that you can put them."
Mr Roberts says all political parties need to commit to building 2000 social housing units a year.