Understanding homelessness in Aotearoa
Homelessness in Aotearoa New Zealand is a complex problem without one single solution by working together and with the government there are solutions.
In order to end and respond to homelessness in Aotearoa, we need to understand the situation for whānau experiencing homelessness in our local communities, in particular for Māori who are both tangata whenua and make up more than 50% of the whānau we walk alongside. In our Aotearoa context to end homelessness, we must understand and address colonisation.
Our kaupapa Māori framework Tāiki was developed to ensure that the programme was reimagined through a te ao Māori lens in Aotearoa.
Definitions of homelessness
There are three main types of homeless that whānau experience. The Housing First programme was developed to support people experiencing chronic and episodic homelessness.
People experiencing chronic homelessness have multiple and complex needs and have spent more than a year living on the streets.
People who are episodically homeless frequently fall in and out of homelessness finding it difficult to maintain stable housing or sustain a tenancy.
Most whānau experiencing homelessness in Aotearoa are transitionally homeless. Often caused by a major life event such as redundancy, relationship or family breakdowns or health issues, whānau in this group can maintain stable housing and tenancy unsupported. For this group of people, rapid rehousing should be the priority.
Ira Mata, Ira Tangata: Auckland’s Homeless Count
In order to better understand the scale of unsheltered homelessness and people in temporary accommodation across in Tāmaki Makaurau, Housing First Auckland with support and funding from Auckland Council led the first region-wide Point in Time count in 2018.
What are our definitions of homelessness and ending homelessness?
We adopt the Statistics New Zealand definition of homelessness.
Living situations where people with no other options to acquire safe and secure housing are: without shelter, in temporary accommodation, sharing accommodation with a household or living in uninhabitable housing.
This definition means homelessness includes whānau sleeping on the street, or in a car or shed, as well as those who are couch-surfing or house-jumping.
We align with the vision outlined in the Aotearoa Homelessness Action Plan that homelessness is prevented where possible, or is rare, brief and non-recurring.