The Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation says it hates saying no, but it just doesn't have enough houses for all the applicants.

Earlier this week a Here and Now investigation found many people living in deplorable conditions because they couldn't get into public housing. But the Corporation says it can only do so much.

It doesn't look like much, just a stack of files, but these files represent the more than 600 families waiting for very few vacancies in public houses. Many live in substandard housing and are desperate to get out.

Mary Marshall speaks for the Housing Corporation: "Some of the ones that I saw on television the other night would definitely get a fairly high rankings in the way we look at priority."

Mary Marshall and her staff have the difficult job of deciding who gets in and who waits. The priority depends on who needs it most. But even with such high demand there is no money and no plan to build more houses.

Instead, most of the Corporation's money goes to upgrading existing houses, many without showers or washer and dryer hookups. Many just need facelifts, like the houses on James place. There, workers are replacing siding, windows and doors. Inside it's clean, comfortable, a far cry from the many properties we found in the private market.

Gloria Crocker and her family got a place a week ago. She's proud to show it off. Crocker and the other tenants are happy to be here. They're even organizing a tenants' committee, promising to cut the grass and plant flowers.

Crocker says, "At least you can live a little bit comfortable and you know you got your lights and a roof over your head and it's clean, and you know it's only a phone call away to get repairs done.

To the hundreds of people on the waiting list, she says be patient, housing is worth the wait.