Homeless people seeking hardship grants from Work and Income to buy tents to live in is a sign of how bad the housing crisis is, Housing Minister Phil Twyford says.

But he and Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni are putting an end to the practice.

"Work and Income New Zealand, it turns out, have been providing tents for people who are homeless.

"When I heard about this I immediately spoke to Minister Carmel Sepuloni, Minister of Social Development and she decided with me that that's not acceptable. The Government doesn't provide tents for homeless people. We'll put a roof over their heads.

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"So we've knocked that policy on the head," Twyford told Newstalk ZB's Chris Lynch today.

One News reported on Thursday that in the past year 20 families had asked for hardship grants through Work and Income to buy a tent to live in.

"We were shocked by it. It might have been OK under the former National Government, it's not OK under ours," Twyford said.

He said Work and Income had been told that the policy was unacceptable and had to stop.
Twyford said homelessness was going to get worse before it gets better.

"The waiting list for state housing has been going up quite dramatically. It's now in the region of 10,000."