A sickness beneficiary has found a rental easily for the last 17 years - until nine months ago when Auckland's housing crisis almost made her homeless.
Shanez Akhtar applied for over 50 rentals and was about to try her luck on the social housing register when she found temporary accommodation through a friend. Now she's got four months until she has to try again, or she'll be on the streets.
The 43-year-old is speaking out about the "crazy" housing crisis that is leaving thousands struggling to put a roof over their head. She supports the Salvation Army's latest report that recommends building 20,000 social houses in the next decade.
"Nobody in New Zealand should ever be homeless," Akhtar told the Herald. "We're supposed to be a civilised country yet we have increases in suicide, unemployment and homelessness. That's just ridiculous.
"Not having a secure roof over your head makes you feel extremely unstable, you can't focus or plan your future at all."
Akhtar, who has an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto's which means she experiences extreme fatigue and brain fog, had to move out of her flat nine months ago.
After applying for over 50 rentals she called Housing New Zealand. They set up an appointment with her for an initial interview. In the meantime she had an emergency appointment with Work and Income who made it clear the social housing list was "very, very long and my chances of getting a house weren't strong".
They said she would have to move into emergency accommodation to get on the social housing list.
Because she doesn't have children Akhtar expected she would be pretty low down the priority list.
So, out of desperation, she texted every contact on her phone asking if they had somewhere she could stay. One friend responded but it would only be a temporary fix as he was doing renovations.
Akhtar believed the pressurised market was causing agents to accept bids above the rental price. She said sometimes a rental would go off the market before its open home date.
"That's what this environment has led to. It's like a money war.
"There are people finding themselves homeless living on people's sofas, vans, tents... You just feel depressed and you think 'what do I have to offer?'."