Helping those in need get into suitable housing is just the first step. Reporter Jenny Ling looks into the importance of wraparound services to address underlying issues.
Just over five years ago, Deeann Herkt-Kopa was in the throes of an unforgiving addiction to methamphetamine.
Her mokopuna were taken away from her, she couldn't hold down a job, and had nowhere stable to live.
Life was a vicious cycle of addiction.
"It was chasing the dragon," she said. "I was waking up to use and using to wake up."
Inspired to be better for her grandchildren, Herkt-Kopa began making changes.
She did a six-month stint at rehabilitation in Auckland, followed by group sessions at He Waka Eke Noa, a drug and alcohol recovery hub and support clinic.
In 2017 she returned home to Kaikohe, to be near extended whānau.
She got help from friend Rhonda Zielinski, a local nurse and businesswoman who is working to improve the lives of those in her community.
"Rhonda offered me a safe, drug-free environment to live in," Herkt-Kopa said.
"Otherwise, you're going back into the same old cycle of drugs and alcohol. You fall back into the same hole."
Zielinski believes it's vital to address the underlying issues of those in need, so they can learn about responsibility and start to help themselves.
She is a director on the Whakamanamai Whānau Trust which is helping Northlanders struggling to get a decent roof over their head by providing small portable buildings they can put on Māori land under a scheme called Whare to the Whenua.
Although there are no strict criteria to be eligible, recipients must agree to seek help in addressing drug and alcohol or anger management problems.
They must also learn about budgeting.
Mid North Budgeting Services is based in Kaikohe and offers a free and confidential service.
Manager Kane Lyden said about six of her clients have received portacoms through the Whare to the Whenua project and have come to her for budgeting advice.
Lyden said she has weekly meetings with them to make sure they stay on track.
"We want to empower them so they can learn to be accountable for what they're doing."
Lyden said budgeting is important for everyone, but particularly for those living in hardship. Most of her clients are beneficiaries.
"With the small amount of income that people receive, it's important they come and engage with us so we can look at their finances and make them mentally prepared.
"Circumstances can change really quickly. If they have part-time work and lose their employment it's really important they communicate that to us."
The chief executive of Whangārei's Open Arms homeless day shelter, Liz Cassidy-Nelson, said the centre has a range of services it refers people to, including foodbanks and addiction services.
Developing simple life skills are also addressed so people have confidence to maintain a tenancy, she said.
"For a number of people, they've not learned those life skills so we're walking alongside them so they can develop that.
"It's all sorts of things around being able to maintain a tenancy, like cleaning the house.
"They might have couch surfed for a long time and they've never had that responsibility.
"It's a gap in their own experience.
"They're not irresponsible community members, but growing up they perhaps didn't have life skills doing the everyday things some of us take for granted."
Solomon Group Northland offers support and training for those wanting to get into employment.
Chief executive Lynette Donohoe said the organisation provides access to jobs by connecting workers to employers. It also offers pathways into further education.
It's about empowering people to make their own choices, she said.
"If people are to have ongoing independence, they need a job.
"You've got to have housing and food in order to have work, so getting the housing sorted is fundamental to a person gaining employment.
"Our end result is that we want people to have work so they can be independent.
"To get that outcome for people you've got to get them settled."
Now five and a half years clean, Herkt-Kopa has turned her life around, and is now working to help others.
She established He Waka Eke Noa Te Tai Tokerau in Kaikohe, and gained her New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing level 4 with a focus on mental health and addiction support, with NorthTec.
She is now an alcohol and drug peer support worker at Whakaoranga Whānau Recovery Hub.
"I'm working in the community trying to make changes for other people. People like myself are the solution to the problem."
Herkt-Kopa's biggest reward is having her two grandchildren back in her care.
"Life now is truly a blessing. It's a blessing to be present in everyday life."
Read the series
Day one: Our Hidden Homeless: Families living in cars and tents; couch-surfing grandmas
Day two: Eric Monk finally has a place to call home
Day three: Northland's elderly living in Third World conditions
Day five: Teen mums living in cow sheds