Squatters occupying condemned social housing and people building without permits or living in overcrowded homes.
This was the stark picture presented to commissioners at a Tauranga City Council committee meeting this week to discuss the impact of the city's "worst of all worlds" housing situation.
It came after commissioners earlier advised Environment Minister David Parker the council cannot meet the Government's policy expectations for freeing up land for development.
Their letter said Tauranga was heading for a shortfall of 1119 homes in the next three years and 1637 within 30 years, and the city needed help to fund infrastructure.
During Monday's meeting, commissioner Stephen Selwood said housing affordability was a "critical" issue.
"Half the population can't afford houses above $600,000 be it rental or ownership and yet almost all of those houses provided in those development areas, notwithstanding what Kāinga Ora might deliver, are going to be at market pricing $800,000 to $1.2 million."
Selwood said understanding how to bridge the affordability gap was "fundamental" and presented "enormous challenges".
He hoped it would help drive new innovative ways to develop land identified for development.
"But I suspect we're going to have to find new pieces of land to be able to deliver those affordability thresholds."
The committee's tangata whenua representative, Te Pio Kawe, said Tauranga and the Western Bay were facing a critical situation for Māori housing.
He said some people would continue to "build without permits [and] live in overcrowded situations".
"It's not doing anybody any good.
"I know we haven't got all the solutions here but that is the actual reality right here today.
"We have squatters coming in and occupying the Kāinga Ora homes that are set for demolition. The police come around weekly to move people on.
"It's a serious situation."
Kawe said the $600,000 needed to build what was now deemed an "affordable" home in Tauranga was unobtainable for those looking to build homes on Māori land.
"Our whānau just can't afford to build whares on our whenua.
"We really do need to have a serious conversation in terms of what can we put in place to assist development on Māori land.
"Many of the people I know are never going to be entering into these developments.
"They are definitely struggling to enter into homeownership."
Commission chairwoman Anne Tolley said the city was facing the "worst of all worlds" for housing.
"We've got difficult high costs of development, we are very reliant on state agencies for their infrastructure and then we have a population whose average wage is below the national average wage.
"We have a large number of people here who are not earning a lot of money."
Rental properties were also hard to find and expensive, she said.
She was concerned the council would be a "standout" in not complying with the National Policy Statement - Urban Development Capacity.
"What concerns me more is what are we going to do about it and there are no clear answers around that."
A report presented to the meeting listed planned and identified development capacity possibilities but none were without risks.
"Our ability to deliver on those is really constrained in many cases by forces that are not in our control," Tolley said.
"We're going to have to think... not only the areas we've identified but are there alternatives and how do we address that affordability?"
She said if the city did not get the infrastructure it needed to build more houses "that must be an even worse picture for us".
Council manager of city and infrastructure planning Andy Mead said the city was short of development capacity but not on areas to grow.
"If we were able to grow those areas we would have, based on our current population projections, sufficient development capacity.
"The issue is that we can't release that for a variety of reasons."
He said if issues with land access, freshwater and transport investment were not resolved "you're taking 13,000 houses out of that equation".
"That's approaching 50 per cent of the future development capacity."
Mead said there were "significant risks" around the timing of the development of Te Tumu and the Western corridor and the need for transport investment for the second stage of Tauriko West and Keenan Rd.
"If those things aren't resolved or they take a very long time to resolve, we are going to remain in a significant challenging position around development capacity."
Housing affordability was not "an easy nut to crack" but he said the council will be dealing with that separately.
Council general manager of strategy and growth Christine Jones said $380 million to build new Māori housing and $350m ring-fenced infrastructure funding to target Māori housing development were announced in the Budget 2021.
"Certainly, through the priority development areas, we have been lobbying really hard and advocating strongly for funding to be made available to assist Māori trusts to be able to get expertise and advice to help them prepare the applications to access the funding."
Medical officer of health for Toi Te Ora Public Health Dr Bruce Duncan told the Bay of Plenty Times living in substandard or overcrowded housing was a "significant determinant" to people's physical and mental health.
"Cold, damp, and mouldy homes are associated with illnesses such as asthma and respiratory infections.
"Cold indoor temperatures also increase the risk of acute cardiovascular events. Household crowding increases the risk of infectious disease transmission."
Crowded, cold, damp, and unaffordable housing can also affect mental health, he said.
"Conversely, having secure housing tenure and housing that enables connection with the local community promotes and supports mental wellbeing."
Kāinga Ora has been contacted for comment.