Western Australia could face a long wait for more public housing amid concerns more rough sleepers will die on the streets of Perth.
At least 56 homeless people died in Perth last year, according to recent figures released by the University of Western Australia.
A vigil was set to be held outside state parliament on Tuesday evening for Alana Garlett, a Noongar mother of six who died on the streets last month.
Ms Garlett's death is being investigated by the coroner. Her family has demanded an urgent increase in housing for the homeless with a focus on Indigenous rough sleepers, who reportedly made up a third of last year's deaths.
More than 560 applicants have joined WA's social housing waitlist since a moratorium on rental evictions ended in March, taking the total number to almost 17,000.
Communities Minister Simone McGurk said WA's over-heated housing market had made it difficult to quickly provide more public housing.
"Even if we doubled or tripled the amount of funding that was available, we cannot get those properties built in the short term," she told reporters.
"So making sure that there are ... places that people who are street-present feel comfortable with, they can connect with services and we can start do that work, is essential."
The McGowan government has touted a $1 billion investment in recent housing initiatives, including new short-term accommodation facilities.
Ms McGurk on Tuesday opened a new medical respite centre in Perth designed to provide follow-up care to homeless patients after hospital admissions.
WA is on track to post a record surplus, fuelled by a surge in the iron ore price, when the budget is handed down in September.
Opposition Leader Mia Davies accused the government of "sitting on a big pile of cash" and not investing enough in social housing.
"It's obviously an appalling statistic, in a state that's about to return a $5 billion surplus in a budget not too far away, that we have escalating numbers of people dying on our streets," she said.
But Ms McGurk said housing stress was a problem across the nation and more needed to be done by the federal government.
"I suspect that housing and the availability of housing across the continuum will be a big issue in the next federal election, because it continues to be a pressure point," she said.
"Across the board, we would like to see more effort put in place by the federal government."
Australian Associated Press