5 Jul 2013

Count of homeless people wanted

8:44 am on 5 July 2013

Advocates for the homeless are calling for an official head count of people sleeping rough, saying the Government does not know the true scale of the problem.

There is no exact figure on the number of people currently homeless - but the Government estimates it is about 250, based on the Housing New Zealand waiting list.

Christchurch Tenants Protection Association manager Helen Gatonyi said the problems growing and she has heard as many as 360 people could be sleeping rough.

Homelessness is also getting worse in Auckland, with about 100 people reportedly sleeping on the streets each night.

Wellington downtown community ministry director Stephanie McIntyre said the situation is getting worse there too and she wants an official head count.

But Housing Minister Nick Smith said a head count would not solve anything and instead, energy should be directed into social housing reforms.