An extra $450 million is needed for Australian homeless services to respond to the rapid rise in people seeking help.
The number of Australians reaching out for support spiked 7.5 per cent between December 2022 and March this year, analysis from Homelessness Australia found.
The majority of people were experiencing financial stress or issues from the housing crisis.
"The increases in rent and the record-low vacancy rates are driving more people to homeless services," Homelessness Australia chief executive Kate Colvin told AAP.
"There's been such significant increases in people coming through the door that they're not even able to necessarily record everyone who's seeking help."
Queensland had a 12.9 per cent rise in homelessness service use, the largest increase in any Australian state, followed by Western Australia (11.1 per cent) and NSW (10.2 per cent).
A total of 6658 people sought out services during the three-month period, with Homelessness Australia warning that could rise to 19,974 by the end of the year.
The productivity commission indicates the cost per client for homeless services is $4901 when considering the work to find accommodation and connecting clients to other supports.
If the additional 19,974 people was combined with the 71,962 people already being turned away from homeless services, there would be a cost of $450.6 million.
"It's not that 450 million is going to end homelessness," Ms Colvin said.
"The main thing we want is to have less people coming to homeless services, not for there to be more people and more money at homeless services."
She said there needed to be a greater focus on what's driving people into homelessness, including lack of adequate housing and cost of living.
Family violence was also a big factor, especially for women and children who made up three quarters of people accessing homeless services in March 2023.
The federal government is developing a 10-year National Housing and Homelessness Plan, which it says will outline reforms needed to address housing challenges.
The plan should ambitiously aim to end homelessness, Ms Colvin said.
"What we want is for the government to fix these problems so that homeless services are responding to much fewer people," she said.
"We can then provide the intensive support that people might need if they've fallen through the gaps in all of the other service systems."
Australian Associated Press