Regional Victoria's rental shortage is forcing people to live with extended family members for long periods of time.
Brent Vanstone has been living in a shed on his mother's property fin the state's south-west for more than two years.
When he first started looking, he was searching for a place for under $350.
Mr Vanstone works as a cleaner and has recently secured a second job in traffic control.
"In the first 18 months I applied for a lot of properties, but after constantly waking up to emails saying I was unsuccessful, I gave up for six months as it was taking a huge toll on my mental state," he said.
In addition to that, he has been contacted by a number of people about properties who he later found out were scammers.
Mr Vanstone, who has joint custody of his 11-year-old son and nine-year-old daughter, is looking for a two to three-bedroom property.
"The constant rejection is very disappointing," he said.
The Standard was contacted by a couple expecting a baby in November who have applied for more than 50 rentals in the past two years.
Another woman, who wants to move to Victoria's south-west, where she can get a job on a farm, has also tried unsuccessfully for two years to secure a rental.
The Facebook page Real Estate for Sale and Rent Warrnambool is flooded with posts from people looking for rentals in the south-west.
New figures released to coincide with national Homelessness Week show a number of people with COVID-19 essential jobs are spending at least a third of their income in south-west Victoria.
People who work in the hospitality industry work 15.1 hours just to cover the cost of their rent in the region, while people in the aged care and child care sectors work 14.8 hours just to pay their rent.
Everybody's Home national spokesperson, Kate Colvin, said Australia's housing system wasn't working for all Australians.
"The pandemic has reminded us how critically important our carers and service workers are. Yet these pandemic heroes are being badly let down by the housing system and are often priced out of the communities they serve.
"While eye-watering rents are worse in our major cities, essential workers are increasingly priced out of coastal and bush communities too. People with big city incomes are moving to the regions and totally warping the rental markets. It's astonishing that a care or service worker simply could not afford a modest apartment in the overwhelming majority of our suburbs and regions.
"We must expand social and affordable housing. This will relieve the pressure on our rental market and give Australians on low and modest incomes more options. All over the country, our caring and service workers simply can't compete for rental properties.
"These are the people who got us through the pandemic. We must find a way to let them live close to their work."