Politics / Housing

Government plans count of homeless

17:36 pm on 20 March 2018

The government is planning to count the number of homeless people in New Zealand.

Photo: 123rf

Statistics New Zealand will work with Kate Amore, from Otago University, to get a better understanding of the numbers between each census.

In 2016, Dr Amore found one in every 100 New Zealanders don't have a home to call their own, according to 2013 census data.

Similar surveys have recently been completed by community groups in Auckland and Rotorua.

Housing Minister Phil Twyford said it was important to have a more accurate idea of the number of people sleeping on the streets.

"What we're trying to do here is do an actual count, so not rely solely on the census data", he said.

"So we'd do an actual count of people who are without shelter, the chronically homeless.

"That means, in the case of the counts recently in Rotorua and in Auckland, volunteers actually going out and locating people", he said.

The government will also use surveys and sampling tools to collect data.

Mr Twyford did not know how much the surveys would cost, or when they would be completed but said it was important the research was done.

"If you don't understand the scale of the problem, how are you expected to design policies to fix it," he said.

The survey will be completed every two years.