The amount of money spent on transitional housing has nearly doubled in two years, with more than $330 million spent in the past year alone on what is meant to be a "stop-gap solution", and $60m more than budgeted.
It comes after last year's Budget allocation blew out by close to $200m.
As the social housing waiting list continues to balloon, with now more than 27,000 applicants - nearly five times the number since Labour came into Government in 2017 - National says it is symptomatic of Labour's broken promises in the housing sector with rents also increasing.
Alongside this, the Hardship Fund, from which support including emergency accommodation grants is drawn, at $551m remained well above pre-Covid figures (in 2019, $346m was budgeted).
In the year to March 2022, $345m of that was spent on emergency housing for those in the direst housing situations - nearly double the $178m in the year to March 2020.
The Government says the increase in funding for transitional housing has seen nearly 2000 more homes added to the stock, helping those in "precarious living arrangements and providing a pathway to more permanent housing".
The 2021 Budget allocated $272m for delivering transitional housing - temporary accommodation and support for individuals or families who are in urgent need of housing. That fund had to be topped up by a further $62m.
It also followed a blowout of $194m for Budget 2020 over $150m allocated, and of $60m for Budget 2019 over the $139m set aside.
The $62m supplementary spending for the past year included $16m to support transitional housing providers to provide places and $46m as payments to those providers.
Housing Minister Megan Woods said the increase in funding had seen 1843 transitional homes added since coming into government, with now 5239 in total.
Funding also covered operational expenses to provide wrap-around health and welfare services, as well as subsidising rent for tenants, Woods said.
The past year also saw a large increase post-Covid in the Hardship Fund maintained.
In 2019/2020 there was $346m budgeted for the fund. Last year it nearly doubled to $623m, with $88m less spent due to uncertainties around Covid-19.
This year $551m was spent - about $40m under budget, but still well above pre-Covid levels.
This accompanied a continued rise in applicants on the social housing register.
As of April, there were 27,234 applicants - up from 5844 in September 2017 - in dire need of housing, just prior to Labour coming into government.
Data also shows the numbers of highest-risk applicants have also soared, from single digits five years ago to now in the hundreds.
National Party housing spokesman Chris Bishop said Labour had campaigned on fixing the housing crisis.
"Yet instead rents are up, and the public housing list has quadrupled."
Bishop said state landlord Kāinga Ora was still "incredibly slow" in adding new housing and the Government had not supported community housing providers enough.
Woods, however, said the sector had been "decimated by the last National Government, with cascading demand after nine years where nothing was done to bring on either new public or affordable housing".
The Government had committed to adding over 18,000 new public and transitional homes by 2024, she said.
Transitional housing bridged the gap between homelessness or crowded living situations and more permanent housing, with wrap-around health and welfare support, she said.
Budget 2022 provided over $1 billion for public and transitional housing over four years.
"This is what it costs to solve a housing crisis and provide public housing," Woods said.
The $3.8 billion Housing Acceleration Fund would also help see new houses built, paying for housing infrastructure like pipes and roads, she said.
Community Housing Aotearoa chief executive Vic Crockford said the extra spending was "welcome", given the present need, but she cautioned it should only ever be treated as a "stop-gap solution".
"The need is so great – some [of our members] have waitlists in the hundreds.
"The key barrier to ending homelessness and reducing the need for emergency motels and transitional housing is the lack of more affordable, secure homes."
Crockford said Kāinga Ora's programme was "heartening" but the community housing sector could do more.
"Community housing providers have proven over decades that they are the experts at delivering affordable homes to the local communities in which most of them live.
"With the right mix of capital funding and long-term policies that unlock financing opportunities, we know they can play a big role in solving our housing crisis.
"But we don't have that mix right yet. Even though community housing providers are delivering, it's a really tough operating environment."