A disabled Kaikohe man fears he will end up living on the street if he can't find somewhere to live by Thursday.
Steve Nelder has been living in his former partner's home, but now she wants to sell up so he has to move out. He's been looking at properties around the Kaikohe-Moerewa area, asking friends and trying real estate agents, but it's got him nowhere.
With soaring prices and the rental squeeze now reaching every corner of the Far North, on the rare occasion he finds something suitable the rent is out of reach.
The former herd manager, who has been on an invalid's benefit since injuring his knee three years ago, was shocked when he went to look at a two-bedroom flat in Moerewa that he described as a "filthy hovel", and was told the rent was $340 per week. He had been offered a tidy, two-bedroom cottage in Kaikohe for less, but Work and Income told him the rent was still too high because it would have left him with just $100 a week.
A case worker suggested he move to Auckland, where the housing allowance is higher, but Mr Nelder said that would be more than offset by the city's sky-high rents, leaving him worse off.
Work and Income had made a phone appointment for him with a emergency housing adviser, but he has to wait until Tuesday next week, five days after he's due to become homeless.
"You walk in there full of hope and walk out humiliated," he said.
"Talk about stress. Bloody hell, I've only got days to find somewhere to live."
Mr Nelder said his ankles and shoulders were "buggered", along with his knee, and he needed a modified bathroom and a bed that could be raised and lowered electrically, but he still enjoyed getting out in the garden, where he grew flowers and much of his food. He was hoping to find a home in the Kaikohe-Moerewa area.
■ Contact the Northern Advocate's Far North office on (09) 407-3287, or email email@example.com, if you can help.