Addressing Wagga's housing crisis is a matter of mounting an assault on the stigma associated with social welfare, says the city's support workers.
It follows a survey compiled by the St Vincent de Paul's Society indicating that residents in hardship face up to a decade's wait for social housing.
"The stigma is still there, but the reality is they come from all walks of life. They're older people, they're younger people, they're families, they're single people, but they all just need a hand in life for whatever reason," said Renee Cooper from Vinnies in Wagga.
Similarly, Vinnies CEO Jack de Groot advocates for a "salt and pepper" approach to removing housing stigmas.
"There are good models for social housing to be mixed through general housing, we don't want a suburb to be given the stigma that everyone living there is in social housing. We're not interested in creating ghettos," he said.
Across the state, 512 new units are currently being built. But none of the new dwellings has been slated for Wagga.
This despite some 1400 residents currently experiencing dire housing stress, spending up to 75 per cent of their weekly wage on rent.
The situation is made more extreme for residents on government benefits. In the 12 months to June, Vinnies assisted 660 Newstart recipients and 450 people on disability support pensions.
"We want to ensure we're meeting the basic needs of our community, that people aren't slipping below the poverty line," Ms Cooper said.
"A lot of Newstart [recipients], pensioners and refugee families would be below that poverty line right now."
Additionally, in the last financial year in Wagga, 1900 people sought assistance through the charity's Micah Hub offices.
"[Homelessness] does not discriminate, and mostly it's because there's just not enough money left over after rent to afford food and energy," Ms Cooper said.
To address the problem, Vinnies has launched a campaign to leverage the government to commit to a bold target of 50,000 new social dwellings across the state in the next 10 years.
"Put simply, more houses means that list decreases," Ms Cooper said.
"Ideally, more social housing takes the pressure of people to afford the rent. Without that chunk coming out of their pay, they have more money for food and other things."
Names on the waiting list represent a variety of situations, some are single households, others are families.
Many are refugee families who have already escaped enormous insecurity and persecution to be left in the lurch by the housing crisis.
All are of concern to the city's support workers, but the potential to experience compounding problems exists more prominently when children are involved.
"For a family in that situation, it means not having stability [for a prolonged time]. There's no security, it's a big issue," Ms Cooper said.
"Parents are left worried for their children, that they do not live in a secure environment and that leads to tension for the family, it just snowballs."
In the most severe cases, this insecurity can mean the breakdown of the family entirely.
"Vinnies is about avoiding that fate, we're concerned with how we best support the family to ensure that [family separation and foster caring] doesn't happen because that is the last case resort," Ms Cooper said.
An additional challenge for Wagga is to integrate existing urban infrastructure with social housing ventures.
"When it comes to vacant dwellings in Wagga, the owners need assurance from the government that they will be supported, and they need an assurance of a constant rental stream," Mr de Groot said.
"People need to be supported first to get back on their feet, and then they can enter the private rental market."