Homelessness in Aotearoa

Understanding and defining homelessness

Homelessness in Auckland and Aotearoa is a complex problem without one single solution. Fortunately we can look to communities worldwide who are close to ending homelessness and know that it is possible. 

While international experiences and evidence-based programmes like Housing First give invaluable insights, each country, city and often suburb have unique challenges and require innovative solutions to end homelessness.

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

Our kaupapa Māori framework Tāiki was developed to ensure that the programme was reimagined through a te ao Māori lens in Aotearoa.

In our Aotearoa context to end homelessness we must understand and address colonisation.

There are three main types of homeless that whānau experience. The Housing First programme was developed to support people experiencing chronic and episodic homelessness.

Chronically homeless

People experiencing chronic homelessness have multiple and complex needs and have spent more than a year living on the streets.

Episodically homeless

People who are episodically homeless frequently fall in and out of homelessness finding it difficult to maintain stable housing or a sustain a tenancy.

Transitionally homeless

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.

Read the full report on the Statistics NZ website (pdf).

We adopt the Western Massachusetts network to end homelessness definition of what it means to end homelessness.

Homelessness in Auckland will end when it becomes “rare, brief and non-recurring”.