Recent research from Otago University shows New Zealand has some of the worst rates of homelessness in the developed world. In Auckland alone 23,000 people are homeless and the numbers continue to grow. Victor Savage was homeless for over 40 years.
“My family actually kicked me out of my own house and that's how I ended up being on the street. I've been on the street since I was 7 years old.”
Marty Rogers from Te Puni Kōkiri says there are approximately 500 sleeping rough in the Auckland CBD and about 70% are Māori.
“The number of Māori whānau on the street is increasing and while today the focus is on those sleeping rough in Auckland, it's actually widespread.”
According to Lifewise, more than 23,000 in the Auckland region are homeless. A number of support services gathered today to embody their support for those sleeping rough.
Marty Rogers sats, “It's income, it's people’s ability to be employed, to hold down jobs. It's people’s ability to access health services or addiction services, so there's a whole of things that contribute to people sleeping rough.”
Recently housed by the Lifewise Housing First initiative, Victor Savage encourages other homeless people to seek help.
“Support workers are here to get the people off the street and get them into homes and if you want them they'll be there to support you. If you city mission or LifeWise if they come down approach you, they ask you if you're looking for a house they will help you, and I'll tell you this if you need more help I can help you as well.”
Marty Rogers says the incoming Government needs to make homelessness a priority.