Some people can wait 10 years to get public housing in Sydney, often because the Housing Authority has to go through hoops to get criminals and troublemakers kicked out before paying millions of dollars to repair the damage.
A 7News investigation has revealed the extent of tenant damage in the last year alone cost over $10.5 million.
In just 12 months, a taxpayer-funded home in Lethbridge had $50,000 in damage, one in Penrith needed $20,000 in repairs, and another in Hurstville almost $27,000.
Inside the squalid reality of one Sydney drug den was hidden things most of us never see.
The unnerving sense of quiet contradicted by the evidence of chaos and destruction.
Holes punched and kicked through the walls.
Human filth and garbage.
Abandoned children's toys lay alongside a note that says: "Mummy, I love you."
Drug needles and burned spoons litter the floor.
While this house still stands, others are set on fire.
It's hard not to feel sorry for the people, particularly the children who have been living like this.
But this house will now have to be repaired at taxpayer expense for another family in need can move in.
Damage to our state's public housing properties is a growing problem - up 75 per cent in just three years.
Just next door, a different story.
Paul Starr, in singlet and thongs, walks past his Aussie flag
His public housing property is his castle.
The State Government wishes it had more tenants like Paul.
He's just happy making his life here until he can afford to buy a house.