The number of hidden homeless in Hawke's Bay continues to rise, with the wait list for a state house on the East Coast now 105 more than it was a year ago.

The increase has left a trail of disaffected across the region - some families forced into emergency accommodation, some into caravans, and some left fearing for their safety.

Hastings solo mother-of-five Laura Hartley is one of the 105.

She's been living in a Hastings motel since December when she had to move out of her rental, and had no place to go.


Hartley's kids are all under the age of 6.

"I have applied for hundreds of rentals since October but no one will take us, probably because I'm a single mother with five kids," Hartley said.

She says she is scared to even leave the room of her motel because there are so many "strange and dangerous" looking individuals living in the motel with her.

"I've spent hours some days waiting for them to leave so I can do some grocery shopping and I don't let my kids play out in the area, because I'm scared for their safety."

Hartley said she has had few options made available to her in her two months on the Housing NZ list.

"After having pleaded my case with HNZ, about the fact that I am a solo mother of five and my son and I have suffered health problems, they still list us as A12 which is a low priority in the eyes of HNZ."

About 10,000 people nationwide are on the HNZ waiting list.

Hawke's Bay man Peter Nicholas has been on the waiting list for more than two years and finds himself living in a caravan on his auntie's lawn after 19 months on the street.

"They hold them off for families rather than a single person," Nicholas said of Housing NZ.

"I have been offered temporary rooms or hotel rooms but I like being alone and other people in those places have drug problems and other issues that I don't want to be involved in."

Nicholas says the wait list issue needs to be fixed.

"It's not good because there are a lot of us looking for places to live."

In a recent statement, Minister for Housing and Urban Development Phil Twyford said more than 120 households in the East Coast region found homes last quarter.

He said there was still a long way to go but the Government was on the right track.

"While progress is being made on building more homes, we know demand for housing continues to increase.

"We need to build more public housing, and we remain committed to increasing supply by 6400 new places in the next four years, 330 of which are expected to be in the East Coast region," Twyford said.

"We are on track to achieve this goal."

A Ministry of Housing and Urban Development spokesperson said it currently had 14 transitional housing places in the pipeline in the region, which were expected to be available later this year.

General manager of Whatever it Takes Napier Caroline Lampp doesn't see the progress going the same way.

"We deal mainly with rough sleepers and for them there is really nothing out there in terms of temporary housing or accommodation," Lampp said.

"In the winter temporary housing does get a bit better, but over the summer months with tourist and orchard workers there is literally nothing around with all the cheap rentals and hostels filled up."

She is annoyed that the Government thinks it is on the right track.

"In my opinion, the situation isn't getting better, if anything it's getting worse and something needs to happen."