Church overwhelmed by homeless as demand soars

It's World Homeless Day and as the housing crisis grips the country, emergency housing providers are popping up around the country to meet soaring demand.

One Auckland church, Faith Family Connect, is even converting offices into bedrooms and says a growing number of homeless have high mental health needs.

They've been full up since early last year, so they're doubling capacity to 30.

They've even rented a house across the street, but are still forced to turn desperate people away.

Senior Pastor Carla Perese says there are "families that are living in the parks just down the road".

The church has always offered refuge to the homeless, but Pastor Perese says demand has never been so great.

"Our hearts are broken over this situation and that's why we continue to do this," she told Newshub. 

Pastor Perese has even opened up her own home and has people staying in the spare room.

The church says the removal of state homes at nearby Glenn Innes and soaring rental costs are big contributors.

Church resident Ciano Smith lived on the streets to escape the drug world.

"Things got a bit too much and I opted out," he said.

He's been living at the church for a year, at times bunking with six people.

Mr Smith is now a full-time volunteer and is moving into a rental house across the street.

"I do restoration of furniture which is leading me into self-employed work".

The church says it's not just about providing a room... it's about empowering people.

They help with budgeting, driver's licenses, some food and are now offering numeracy and literacy courses. But their main mission is get people into more permanent housing.