A small Auckland emergency housing provider that wants to expand to house more families is critical of the way providers have to prove they can cope.
Last September, the government pledged $2 million for an extra 120 emergency housing places in Auckland - but the money still hasn't been spent.
Danielle Burgin, who manages the Island Child Charitable Trust, said they put in a proposal to take 16 families a year.
But she said the proposal was declined within about three weeks of making its submission, causing her to question whether the application made it to Wellington - and whether Cabinet even saw it.
Ms Burgin said the government needed to take the city's overcrowding seriously and front up with the money.
Another emergency housing provider said homeless families were being forced to stay in such housing for far too long.
Jan Rutledge, who manages De Paul House on the North Shore, said one family had been with them for the past 13 months - which was too long.
If the family could get better access to social housing, they could keep beds available and other providers could also make better use of what they've got.
Ms Rutledge said they usually ran a 16-week programme for families but, at the moment, families were having to stay on for five to six months.
They currently had one vacant unit and two families were on the wait list for it.