Social agencies fear residents of a Takanini motel will be forced onto the streets after Housing New Zealand (HNZ) bought it - ironically, to house the homeless.
The 11-unit Cimarron Motel could be the first of many, with HNZ looking to replicate the model elsewhere.
But Bernie Smith from housing charity Monte Cecilia Trust says emergency housing needs to come with wraparound services, and just buying a motel is "a bit pointless unless there's social workers or social agencies involved with those families".
"Unless somebody's going to walk the journey with these families so that they are appropriately housed at the end of it, it is a pointless exercise," Mr Smith told Newshub.
"My understanding is that no emergency provider has been in discussion with Housing NZ to manage such a facility."
One Cimarron Motel's tenant has been living there for more than a decade.
The previous owner told the New Zealand Herald there is "no pressure" on the long-term tenants to find a new place just yet.
Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett said she's "pleased" HNZ will be able to house another 11 families.
"As my work plan continues, more new emergency places will become available."