Monte Cecilia Housing Trust chief executive Bernie Smith says the homelessness need across New Zealand is far greater than anyone ever predicted.

"It is stupid for the government to spend tens of millions on motel accommodation for homeless families when we have 33,000 empty homes in Auckland."

A major housing trust says the Government needs to put a great focus on social housing and affordable rentals, instead of first home ownership.

Monte Cecilia Housing Trust chief executive Bernie Smith says he expects homelessness in Auckland will be worse this winter than in previous years.