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A homeless man sits out the day on a bench in Auckland

Census figures show nearly 2-thousand people live rough or in boarding houses and night shelters, while another 5-thousand say they live in garages, sheds or cars.

But there are fears that's the tip of the iceberg and the real number is more than 20-thousand, with much of the problem hidden from view.

And while Auckland City Council is looking at a by-law to force homeless people off the streets, those who work with them say punitive measures are not the answer.

In this Insight Richard Pamatatau talks to those living rough to find out what their story is and what kind of help they need.