People without a home are largely invisible in the debate around housing in New Zealand. It is estimated that there are around 42,000 people moving between temporary and insecure accommodation such as garages, garden sheds, cars and caravan parks. Night shelters, emergency housing, refuges – these are the places where NZ homeless seek some sort of shelter. The people sleeping rough or on the streets are only a fraction of the homeless. It is a problem affecting both urban and rural areas, large cities and small towns. Many of the homeless are young people and include women and their children fleeing domestic violence.
Filmmaker and homelessness researcher Kate Amore has filmed the stories of some of those who have find themselves homeless. You can watch her film Putting Homelessness in Focus here, or copies of the DVD can be ordered from Kate Amore.
The NZ Coalition to End Homelessness is a coalition of interested groups, agencies and individuals who share the vision of ending homelessness in New Zealand. Members come from sector agencies including church and faith-based groups as well as representatives from local authorities and central government. The coalition’s role is to raise awareness of homelessness as a political issue, advocate to government for primary legislation creating a duty to accommodate homeless people and to provide advice, support and best practice to agencies working with homeless people in New Zealand.
Useful information on homelessness includes:
- University of Otago media release 3rd June 2016 on severe housing deprivation in 2013 Census
- Parliament Library researcher Paul Bellamy has put together this research paper on Homelessness in New Zealand.
- 2013 University of Otago article Severe Housing Deprivation: the problem and its measurement
- NZ Coalition to End Homelessness paper Homelessness in Aotearoa: issues and recommendations
- The Australian homeless magazine Parity produced a special issue: Responding to Homelessness in New Zealand. It includes articles from our member agencies including Downtown Community Ministry in Wellington, the Christchurch City Mission, the Salvation Army and Auckland City Mission.