Bay pensioners struggling to cover the cost of rising rents are seeking help from agencies around the city.
The news follows the release of a new report reveals older Western Bay of Plenty residents reliant on NZ superannuation or the veterans pension cannot afford rental prices for one and two-bedroom properties.
SmartGrowth's Population Ageing Technical Advisory Group's one-off Western Bay case study showed 1262 Western Bay renters aged 65 and over received the Accommodation Supplement to help with housing costs.
The total number of renters aged 65 and over in the area was about 2820 - or 9.2 percent of the entire older age group.
The report said an affordable rent for a single-person who relied solely on NZ
Superannuation or Veterans Pension as about $90 per week and $134 for a couple.
The average weekly rental costs of older tenants receiving the Accommodation Supplement were $237.35 in Tauranga City and $205.60 in Western Bay of Plenty district.
This compares to the latest TradeMe property figures which shows overall median weekly rents in the Bay had increased 1.2 per cent from $420 in August last year, to $425 in August this year.
SmartGrowth's Population Ageing Technical Advisory Group chair Anne Pankhurst said the issue was about more than just rental prices.
"It is about choice and quality of stock and security of tenure," she said.
"We need to ensure we have one to two bedroom properties for these residents and older people downsizing for retirement."
Peter Moss, who managed Mount RSA's pensioner housing, said there was a shortage of elderly housing throughout the country and Superannuation did not cover the "huge amounts of rents".
"The superannuation is wonderful, but it is only enough to cover normal week-to-week expenses."
Mount RSA had 44 pensioner units between Macville Rd and Kupe Ave, nine privately-owned units on Dee St and seven on Macville Rd.
Mr Moss said the 44-unit pensioner village set up for returned servicemen of World War II was full.
He said there were many over 60s facing different circumstances who were looking for rentals.
"Some are very sad, some were tied up in the blue-chip and lost their money and their houses," he said.
"And there are other people who thought it would be a good idea to sell their house and travel around in a campervan, and because of broken marriages."
Accessible Properties general manager for Tauranga Andrew Wilson said there were a significant number of people on the social housing register looking for one-bedroom homes, and most of them were older residents.
"It is an ongoing trend, and it will put pressure on social housing," he said.
Mr Wilson said 180 of Accessible Properties' 1138 homes were tenanted to people over 65.
"That is 16 per cent of the social housing portfolio in Tauranga and Te Puke," he said.
Age Concern Tauranga chairwoman Anna Bones said the office received calls from older people looking for help and were referred to rental housing providers such as the council, Tauranga Community Housing Trust and the RSA.
Ministry of Social Development deputy chief executive of housing Scott Gallacher said the Ministry would be increasing the number of income-related rent subsidy places in the Western Bay as part of its purchasing strategy released last year.
Tauranga City Council community services general manager Philip King said one of the council's key priorities was to provide a higher standard of living for all residents and that included affordable housing for the city's ageing population.
"We are currently completing a review of our elder housing provision, to ensure that our city's elder housing tenants are receiving the best possible service to meet their needs now and in the future," he said.
He said there was a rapidly growing demand for affordable housing for older people in Tauranga.
A 76-year-old woman has moved into pensioner housing because she cannot afford to pay rent.
Kieran Jensen says the fear of not being able to find somewhere to live can force people into bad health.
"People's health deteriorates because they are so worried about not being able to find somewhere to live," she said.
Mrs Jensen suffered a financial loss when she sold her home and put the funds into an investment that went "belly up".
The pension was not enough to cover rent and bills, so Mrs Jensen moved into one of Mount RSA's 44 pensioner units between Macville Rd and Kupe Ave about five years ago.
Mrs Jensen said she was paying about $290 for a rental in the Mount, but only received $780 a fortnight on the pension.
That left Mrs Jensen $100 per week to spend on bills and other expenses.
"That is virtually nothing once you have paid for food, your car registration and warrant etc," she said.
Mrs Jensen lost her first husband, who was a returned serviceman at age 52. When she re-married seven years later she sold her house in Auckland to move to Tauranga and followed advice to put the funds into an investment.
"Well that went belly up and I learned a good lesson not to invest all of your money and instead just go to a bank."
Mrs Jensen said she was an independent woman and did not want her three sons to fork out money to help her afford a rental. So she moved into the Mount RSA pensioner flats.
"I am very lucky," she said. "I love it here. It provides security and you are very well looked after."
Mrs Jensen said the rent was a big issue and caused forced many older people out of the rental market.
"People who have lost money through investment like I did, you cannot go on with just a pension."