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John Tamihere wants hotline to report homeless if elected mayor

Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere wants to create a hotline for people to report the city's homeless, and for social workers to respond 24/7.

If elected, Mr Tamihere said Aucklanders will be able to call 0800 JACINDA and a social worker will be dispatched and that if the homeless person does not accompany them, they will be breaking the law.

He said there are enough social workers in Auckland to deal with the city's homeless one-on-one.

"Right now today, you name one agency that has employed social workers 24/7, the state is funded to achieve that but its workers only work between nine to five, there is 16 hours of down time where a lot of difficulty occurs outside nine to five."

But an academic is sceptical of the idea of creating an 0800 number to deal with the city's homeless.

Nicola Atwool from the University of Otago's social work programme, said social workers did not have the resources to implement such a policy.

"It's unrealistic and the thing is you will never solve the problem of homelessness case-by-case, because you have to have places for people to go and at the moment that's the big issue, we've got a huge shortage."

John Tamihere, Maori community leader. Source: 1 NEWS