Crammed in a tiny two-bedroom campground unit, mum of three Natasha Anderson feels "trapped".
She moved to Tauranga from "too expensive" Auckland two years ago to be closer to family, and has lived in the unit ever since.
"[Rent] was supposed to be cheaper down here but we haven't been able to find anything."
But she still feels like one of the lucky ones.
Anderson is among those caught out by Tauranga's rapidly rising rents. The median average hit a record $610 in February, according to Trade Me data - up 27 per cent in four years.
A social worker says the city's housing system is "in crisis". Mums with a newborn or up to six kids are sleeping in cars, families are living in tents and every day people are begging campgrounds to let them stay because they have nowhere else to go.
The Bay of Plenty Times has previously spoken to families applying for countless rentals with no callbacks while other rentals exceeded their budget.
Anderson lived with her children, aged one to seven, at Silverbirch Holiday Park, sandwiched between the busy Turret Rd commuter route and Tauranga Harbour.
The facility was owned by her parents but she paid rent for their two-bedroom unit. It had a small bathroom and a living area with a kitchenette, a two-seater couch, some chairs and a small desk. There was barely enough space to walk.
Her eldest son slept in one room with boxes they had no space to unpack, while the other two children slept with her.
The small space drove her "crazy", and there was little freedom or privacy in the park.
Their unit was on the driveway, which made it too dangerous to let her kids play outside. They only left the unit if they were leaving the holiday park.
"To go from a house to this is really hard."
Anderson said the most she could afford for rent was $550 per week. She was studying psychology from home and could not work as she needed to look after the children.
She was applying for rentals in Tauranga and Auckland and applied for public housing last year.
As of December, there were 960 people in Tauranga and the Western Bay of Plenty on the housing register, also waiting for public housing.
"I'm trapped ... The only light at the end of the tunnel would be a state house coming through for us," she said.
But she felt lucky compared to other people she had seen come through the park.
"I feel so sorry for them ... some of them come through and they have nothing."
Anderson's mum, park co-owner Sharon Makai, said it stopped accepting tourists as all caravan sites and cabins were full of people staying long-term.
Makai said they averaged six to 10 calls a day from people needing housing.
The pre-Covid demand quietened down during the lockdowns and then picked up again.
"They need somewhere to stay and it's a steady income for us."
While all residents were homeless, only four received the Emergency Housing Special Needs Grant, with most on a pension.
Papamoa's Beachgrove Holiday Park had about 10 calls a day asking for long-term stays, including from young families with pregnant women.
This had been happening for the last three years, manager Faith Van Duin said.
"We get families asking for tent sites because they've been sleeping in their cars. I've had a few young families with pregnant women asking."
Van Duin said the facility did not usually allow people to stay in tents long-term as there was not enough space for all their possessions, but occasionally allowed it on a week-to-week basis.
It had a working father and son living in a two-man tent who moved into a caravan, and previously had a family with two adults and three children sleeping in a big tent.
"They're happy because they try everywhere."
The holiday park's cabins, caravans and motor home sites were full, taking on long-term stays as well as tourists.
She said people took their frustrations out on her when they could not stay.
"It's really hard to hear people ringing and telling me their situation every day, but I can't do anything.
"I think they're at the end of their wits trying to find a home."
All 22 dorm beds at Apple Tree Backpackers were booked by people mostly staying long term.
They included workers, beneficiaries, and emergency housing clients.
Assistant manager Nadeesha Kalhari said five to 10 people, including families, called daily asking for spaces - more than last year.
She said it often turned people away because it was fully booked. There were no private rooms and a no-child policy, meaning families couldn't stay.
RV Mega owner-operator Richard Olsen said living in caravans had become more popular in the last two years as housing became less affordable.
But this voided the warranty of new mobile homes, which components designed for recreational use, not living.
From a conscience perspective, the company became a distributor of a larger static caravan - 36 square metres - that met the healthy homes standards and was designed for permanent living.
But he said few had sold, likely due to a price tag ofaround $100,000 more than a standard caravan.
Road Life RV operations manager Leane Kappel said more pensioners were selling their homes and buying caravans and motorhomes to free up capital.
In the last two and a half years, there had been a "huge" increase in motorhome and caravan purchases to live in or rent.
She said some buyers did not have somewhere to live, but most were not desperate.
"It's more from people looking at how they can enjoy the rest of their lives when the cost of living is so expensive and the only thing they have is their house."
Others wanted to get out of the rental market but could not afford a house or get a mortgage approved.
Last month, 97 whānau, aged from 17 to 76, sought help from Te Tuinga Whānau Support Services Trust, with 90 per cent struggling with housing.
Issues included the lack of affordable rentals and full emergency housing.
Social worker team leader Scotty Harvey said people "burst out crying" asking what they could do.
He said a "huge" number of families were sleeping in cars, including 15 mums they knew of with up to six children in their cars.
Over Christmas, a mum with a newborn slept in a car.
He said the trust was fielding rising calls from women who fled domestic violence and had nowhere to stay, crying "please help me".
He said people came to Tauranga for work but ended up living in tents or a two-bedroom house with 22 people because there was nothing else.
"The whole system is collapsing ... Tauranga is in crisis."
Harvey said about 20 per cent of those in desperate need of housing they saw were working full-time.
He said more families were losing their rentals as people came home from overseas with the borders reopening.