Rough sleepers on the rise

By Aroha Treacher
  • North Island: East Coast

Homelessness is on the rise, with New Zealand's social housing register reaching it's highest figure since 2014 of almost 5000 people and a government spend of $8.8 million so far this year for emergency accommodation.

In Napier 40-year-old Myles Hemopo sleeps outside on the concrete, something that has become the norm for him. 

"There's sometimes five of us that sleep there, we're not allowed to sleep there but we've got no other place that has got a shelter where we can keep dry at night."

"It's just hard when people are judging you not really understanding why you're in this situation or the comments that can be passed your way because of the situation you're in," he says.

A cross-party inquiry report into homelessness between the Greens, Māori Party, and Labour found more than 40,000 homeless in New Zealand, with 21 in every 1000 being Māori.

The Napier City Council says the problem has been growing in its region and they are looking for solutions.

"We really need to have these wrap around services that are tailored for them in a way that they can access them," says Natasha Carswell Manager Community Strategies at the council.