A boarding house operator believes all levels of government need to be doing more urgently to provide accommodation for the homeless and boost boarding houses as a viable housing option.
Aaron Buman, who operates three boarding homes in Newcastle in NSW's Hunter Valley, said he had never seen housing availability as bad as it is now during his 15 years of operation.
He believes boarding houses could help fill a huge need in the housing market, but that they had a negative stigma.
"They're a solution for homeless people in the short to medium term," he said.
"You have to keep it affordable because a lot of these people are on benefits.
"They don't have to pay a bond.
"I charge $185 a week for someone on Newstart or if they're on Youth Allowance it's $155.
A lot of them are choosing to shut down. The community don't want them. Whenever a boarding house goes up, residents object to it.Aaron Buman
"But a lot of them are choosing to shut down.
"The community don't want them.
"Whenever a boarding house goes up, residents object to it.
"They have such a negative perception and I understand that because I've been to some of the bad ones."
Three years ago, City of Newcastle ordered the closure of two of the boarding houses owned by Mr Buman, who is a former councillor, due to fire regulation and planning concerns.
The houses have since reopened but with less beds.
In the Newcastle Local Government Area there are currently 64 boarding houses with approximately 865 beds registered with NSW Department of Fair Trading.
This includes a boarding home at Parkway Avenue, Cooks Hill where residents have been ordered to vacate by July 5, while the building is repaired and upgraded to provide 50 self-contained apartments.
But more than a quarter of the city's current boarding houses are marketed as student accommodation. The total is also five fewer homes than were registered across the local government area in 2017/18.
A City of Newcastle spokesperson said council undertook regular inspections of registered boarding houses to assess compliance with legislation relating to use of the premises, health and fire safety requirements to ensure that safe, compliant boarding houses operate in the city.
In the Lake Macquarie local government area, there are only two registered boarding homes with 20 beds between them.
Ten development applications for boarding houses have been approved in Lake Macquarie over the past 10 years but only the two have been issued occupation certificates and are currently operational.
Meanwhile the waiting list for all types of social housing in both Newcastle and Lake Macquarie is currently at least five years with more than 1200 people on the list for a property in Newcastle and just under 600 in Lake Macquarie.
Mr Buman said along with a lack of community support, he believed building boarding houses wasn't appealing to a lot of developers as there was more money to be made in constructing and selling off townhouses or apartments.
Mr Buman said he enjoyed running boarding houses to help people who are down on their luck get back on their feet.
His boarding homes are drug-free, with tenants having to consent to drug testing to remain in the residence. One house is also alcohol-free.
"It's the most rewarding job I've ever done in my life," he said.
"I've got my own asset and it helps turn people's lives around."
Mr Buman said there needed to be greater incentive for developers to construct boarding houses and other types of affordable housing, and that governments should be working closely with the private sector to facilitate this.
He thinks drug testing of tenants could also help ease the minds of residents who live near these developments.
But Mr Buman believes boarding houses are only one part of the housing crisis solution.
"It's not a one sized fits all approach," he said.
"The government need to look at the type of housing they are facilitating.
"The fastest growing homeless group is women over 65.
"The government could be releasing land - say a 500 square metre block and have 10 little bed sits on it to house 10 people."
He also mentioned an initiative on the Mid North Coast which allowed people whose houses had been destroyed in the bushfires to live temporarily in shipping containers as a possible short term solution to homelessness.
"There are short term solutions out there," Mr Buman said.
"The government needs to step up and be a greater part of the equation."