More than 1,600 people have been on the waiting list for a council home in Leeds for a decade or longer.
A total of 23,926 applicants are currently registered, which a charity said was linked to a housing shortage and families depending on an insecure rental market.
John Bibby, a policy officer at housing charity Shelter, said: “Not all of them will be people who are in terrible properties or are homeless but that does not mean they don’t need a secure and more affordable home.
“They have little stability or a chance to have a safe and secure home to see their children through school and not be forced to go from pillar to post.
“This is something that is increasingly touching and affecting people up and down the country, particularly young people and young families – what they can expect is different to what their parents expected.”
A Freedom of Information request showed that 1,608 people had been registered 10 or more years.
A further 1,930 had been waiting five-10 years, 4,465 had been waiting two-five years, 5,398 had been waiting one-two years and 10,525 had been waiting a year or less.
Mr Bibby said that different local authorities had different criteria to allow people on to a housing register to bid on homes and it was difficult make comparisons.
But he said the situation would affect people in more serious ways if new homes were not built.
A Leeds City Council spokesman said: “As the country’s second largest local authority, we have over 25,000 applications for a council home.
“On average 4,500 homes are let on average per year, with another 1,000 approximately nominated to housing associations.
“Given the demand for council housing, we assess each application on a priority based basis which is matched with each property type.
“Waiting times do change month by month, but on average are between 37 and 116 weeks for Band A and Band C homes.
“Leeds City Council remains committed to doing everything it can to provide affordable homes and we’ve got ambitious plans to build 1,000 new council homes in the next three years.”
Leeds stands to be Yorkshire’s hardest-hit city if the Government presses ahead with plans to extend the Right to Buy scheme.
Homeless charity Shelter calculates that the city council will be forced to sell off 3,455 local properties, according to new analyisys of proposals put forward under the Housing Bill. Under the Housing Bill local authorities are required to sell off their most valuable council houses when they become vacant to fund extended discounts and build more affordable homes. Shelter has called for the scheme to be scrapped.