John Campbell takes a tour of emergency housing motel, which costs taxpayers thousands a week for one unit

Source: 1News

Emergency housing is costing the taxpayer thousands of dollars for a very basic room, some with backed up toilets and multiple beds crowding a small space.

But one woman who lives at the accommodation described it as "heaven" and a damn sight better than where she previously lived - on a cardboard box in a car park.

Breakfast host John Campbell took a tour of one of New Zealand's emergency housing facilities yesterday, after 1 NEWS revealed the Government paid the top 10 providers $75 million over the past four years .

That's not the total cost, just what has gone to the top 10 providers - but some of it is for very basic accommodation and at very expensive rates, with some rooms costing $2000 a week.

At Auckland's Oakwood Manor, Campbell saw rooms crammed with multiple beds, separate laundry rooms which costs extra to use, a tiny "kitchen" in a cupboard and even a toilet which backs up when someone in another unit flushes their waste.

Campbell called the toilet "disgusting".

However, one occupant at the lodge, Teresa, has lived at the accommodation for two months and told Campbell it is "absolutely" worth the money.

"Before that I was living on the street," she said.

"I would say I'm happy with it, I'd say I'm lucky to be here."

Many New Zealanders would look at the units and think they're a rip off, but Teresa said at least she's got a roof over her head now and no longer sleeping on a cardboard box in a car park.

"It's horrible, no one deserves to be in that situation," she said.

Now, she described her unit, which cost around $1700 a week, as "heaven".

"I felt like I was blessed and I'm grateful and I'm happy and I'm no longer on the street and I can clean my body and I can look after myself."

In New Zealand's housing crisis, for many Kiwis the only thing worse than living in the basic accommodation is not living there because it means you're sleeping in your car, under a bridge, in a garage or in overcrowded homes, Campbell said.

Jono Bell, director of community ministries at the Salvation Army, this morning told Breakfast he hears and sees tragic stories of people needing support, overcrowded accommodation, people living in garages and other crises every day.

But while he added that there were amazing providers in the social service sector working hard to get people into appropriate housing, he added: "The challenge is properties ... We just don't have the houses to put people.

"Everybody, every human, every New Zealander deserves the dignity of having home, having the safety that a home affords," he said.

"I think the Government, everybody acknowledges that motels, some of this accommodation is not suitable at all, it's expensive.

"The alternative is people going into homes, homes for life that are affordable, that are safe, that are dry - we just don't have those homes in the country, so people are missing out at the want of getting a roof over their heads, they're forced into emergency housing."