In the first meeting of its kind a steering group established to tackle homelessness and emergency housing needs in Tauranga came up with a plan of action.

The Tauranga Homeless Steering Group has a plan to find short- to medium-term solutions for women and families currently living on the streets or in cars and tents.

The group first planned to find out how many families were homeless, where they were and what they needed.

From there they would assess their needs for the next three months, including what services and support was currently available and what other support was needed.

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In a statement from the steering group it said they would look into an opportunity to present to Tauranga City Council on the issues of homelessness and how to develop a longer term strategy to address the wider systemic issues that helped create the problem.

At the meeting organisations related to housing or homelessness and associated issues discussed how to take a multi-agency approach to the issue, with one simple aim: to have everyone in the community have a safe place to live.

the Tauranga Homelessness Steering Group was formed so that the different agencies could combine their efforts, use collective expertise and work together to address homelessness and emergency housing needs.

The organisations represented in the group included city council, local iwi, Ministry of Social Development, police, Bay of Plenty District Health Board, Housing NZ, Te Tuinga Whanau Support Services and Tauranga Community Housing Trust.

The statement the group released said the visible rough sleepers in Tauranga were only a small part of the wider issue of homelessness.

"The reality is that 'homelessness' takes many forms, from those who are absolutely without any place to call home, to the 'hidden homeless' - people who have no security in their housing who might be staying in night shelters, backpackers or boarding houses, or living in a car, garage or sleep out without electricity or water," it said.