Hamilton 'absolutely not' over peak of homelessness - politicians under pressure for those needing emergency housing

Whena Owens of TVNZ1's Q+A investigates the state of Hamilton's homelessness and the efforts to find homes for the people needing emergency housing.

Hamilton has been hailed as a model by politicians in its management of homelessness. A bylaw change and the work of the People's Project has been credited with a reduction in people living in rough and temporary accommodation. 

But according to Hamilton Nightshelter trust manager Peter Humphries, Hamilton is 'absolutely not' yet over the peak of homelessness. 

"We've had the busiest month we've ever had here at the Hamilton Christian night shelter for men." 

Last year there were 277 applicants on the Hamilton City social housing register, this year has jumped to 353 households requiring a home with Housing New Zealand. 

Hamilton Salvation Army, Captain Jenny Collings says, the current state can see two families doubling up all sharing a three bedroom house.

"Actually that's become quite normal even in Housing New Zealand," she said. 

Sarah Manning, one the many doubling up in Hamilton looking for rental accommodation, says she just cannot find a house. 

"I've got excellent references but there's nothing really available,

"What's wrong is there are 40 other families turning up for the same viewing," Ms Manning said. 

Hamilton Mayor, Andrew King says,"We do have a housing crisis. I've said for three years now that we have a housing crisis."

"There will always be homelessness, but it's not how it should be."

He says motels are not ideal but are better than being on the street and in a year, the first of many new housing projects will be completed. 

Our reporter Whena Owen with this investigation into the state of homelessness in Hamilton City. Source: Q+A