Government looks to buy more motels across the country to shelter the homeless

Motels are increasingly being used as emergency accommodation for the homeless and now the Government is looking at buying more around the country, in areas like Hawke's Bay, Northland, Wellington and Marlborough.

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Motels are increasingly being used as emergency and longer-term accommodation. Source: 1 NEWS

A South Auckland block of units is one of seven former motels the Government – both past and present - has bought for a total of more than $14 million dollars spread around the country.

The Government buys the sites and then pays community organisations like the Monte Cecilia Trust to manage them and provide services to those in need.

"The success is measured in families not having to live in cars, leaky garages or on park benches," Monte Cecelia Trust's Bernie Smith told 1 NEWS.

"Families need that social work support…Don't isolate people by putting them in a motel and isolate them by expecting them to find their own way out of homelessness."

There are more than 11,000 people on the state housing waiting list and just under 2700 were placed in transitional housing in the last quarter.

The Government agrees that transitional housing has been an effective method but there are big concerns about increasing use of commercial motels for emergency accommodation.

"My preference would absolutely be that we did not have people in motels, but if the alternative is that they are in their cars, or sleeping rough, or no accommodation at all, it is much better than the alternative," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

The Prime Minister says with winter around the corner, the Government is seeing an extra demand and it’s all about making sure people are housed.