Children as young as 10 living on the streets, and youth advocates say problem is growing

Children as young as 10 are living on the streets, as community organisations say the youth homelessness problem is growing.

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Until homeless data is properly collected, the problem can never be solved, community groups say. Source: 1 NEWS

1 NEWS visited an Auckland suburb where people from aged 10 to some in their sixties were living under a bridge, forming a community of their own.

Some of the homeless people there said the younger kids tend to stick together but it's sad they don't have help.

Twenty-four-year-old Brodie Thomsen is desperate to find a house for himself but says he "copes day to day".

He lives rough and then visits Salvation Army every morning to shower and eat.

Lifewise youth homeless team leader Aaron Hendry told 1 NEWS the waiting list for the organisation's homes reaches into the hundreds and the 24 units it has available are all full.

Young people come to Lifewise for help and they do what they can to provide them with life skills and resources to find help.

But the data available on youth homeless numbers is so vague that it's hard to know just how big the problem is - or where to find solutions.

Mr Hendry says more needs to be done to collate data, and Social Housing Minister Kris Faafoi agrees.

"More youth are coming forward and asking for help, which is a good thing. But it's adding to demand that we knew was out there and wasn't coming forward," Mr Faafoi says.

Funding for youth-centric programmes, and a coordinated approach to solving the homeless problem, are some of the ideas Mr Hendry has.

And in the meantime, Brodie Thomsen is hoping someone can see past his past, and give him a roof over his head.