The Newfoundland and Labrador government saw a sharp increase last year in the cost of housing desperate people in private, for-profit shelters providing little to no health care or social services.

Records obtained by CBC News show these “emergency” stays lasted as long as six months at a time, and cost as much as $350 a night.

They sometimes stayed at the Captain’s Quarters Hotel in St. John’s for weeks at a time.

The budget for all emergency shelter usage was forecast at $3.6 million. Instead, it came in over $5.1 million in the last fiscal year.

The budget exploded immediately after the provincial government made changes to the system with the opposite goal in mind.