On the eve of World Homeless Day, Auckland Mayor Phil Goff has announced the results of Ira Mata, Ira Tangata: Auckland's Homeless Count.
The figures reveal that around 800 people are currently living without shelter in Auckland, a number which jumps to over 3000 when those in temporary and emergency housing are added.
The homeless count was a point in time count to discover the extent of chronic homelessness (those people sleeping on the street and in cars) across Auckland. It was conducted on 17 September, organised by the Housing First Collective and supported by Auckland Council.
The people living without shelter who were counted on the night numbered 336 (179 people sleeping rough and 157 people sleeping in cars). A validation exercise, under the guidance of statistician Dr Nevil Pierse from Otago University, confirmed the number of people counted on the night and produced an estimate of 800 being the number of people living without shelter in Auckland.
Mayor Phil Goff said, "Our goal is to end homelessness, not just manage it."
"Measuring the extent of homelessness in Auckland gives us the data we need to inform policy and services that will help solve this pressing issue.
"800 people sleeping rough in Auckland is 800 too many. Add to that another 2874 in temporary or emergency accommodation and we're looking at thousands of adults and children without a safe, secure, warm home to live in.
"The reasons for a person becoming homeless are complex. Further results from the count in December will provide greater detail as to how people have come to live without shelter.
"The Homeless Count will significantly improve our understanding of the shape and scale of homelessness in Auckland and ensure effective services can help get people off the street, out of cars and into homes.
"I took part in the count and walked the streets of Mangere in the middle of the night. It brought home the miserable existence for many people who sleep rough in our region.
"The number of rough sleepers might have been a lot larger if it weren't for the work of Housing First which council supports.
"Housing First is the principal initiative council is supporting to get people off the street by first housing them and wrapping the necessary support services around them to ensure they do not end up back on the street.
"In the first 15 months of the Housing First programme, the providers have housed 582 adults and families in secure, affordable and healthy homes. This fantastic work means 582 people get to wake up each morning with a roof over their heads and somewhere to call home rather than in a doorway or in a car.
"Our whole community has a role in ending homelessness. We are working closely with Government, NGOs and community organisations and results from the Homeless Count will inform a sector-wide strategy to end homelessness in Auckland.
"This count would not have been possible without the support of 660 volunteers. I met many passionate and caring people during the count who like me want to end homelessness in Auckland, and I thank them for their efforts," Phil Goff said.
The count organised by the Housing First collective and Auckland Council was the first time a Point in Time Count of this scale has been undertaken in New Zealand.