The Government will invest $100 million into tackling homelessness in this month's Budget.

Of that total, $37m will go into providing 1500 shorter-term houses, which should be in place by the end of winter.

The other $63m will be used to significantly ramp up the Housing First Programme, which is a longer-term solution and targets the most vulnerable families in the country.

Housing First is based on the idea that people should be placed straight into permanent housing, rather than emergency shelters, before any other issues such as addiction or mental health are addressed.


There are no conditions attached for tenants, such as a requirement to be alcohol or drug-free when they come into the progtramme.

The new money will expand the programme to another 550 households outside the main centres, at a cost of $42.9m. The remainder of the $63 million will be used to sustain and expand Housing First services – such as mental health treatment.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Housing Minister Phil Twyford made the announcement at Te Puea Marae in Mangere, which took on large numbers of homeless in recent years as the problem worsened.

Speaking at the marae, Ardern said there should be no homelessness in a country like New Zealand.

"Images of children growing up in cars sits well with no one," she said.

She said the government would be also seeking out help from other maraes and social services, who have land or the ability to offer services to homeless people.

She acknowledged the funding package would not be enough to end homelessness and said her government aimed to deliver more funding to build permanent housing in coming announcements.

Putting chronically homeless people into emergency housing did not provide them with long-term stability, she said.


"[But] this is us trying to meet the immediate need."

Twyford said most of the new 1500-odd homes were already available for homeless people to move into.

He said the public housing waiting list in New Zealand was now over 9000 and heading for 10,000.

The minister appealed to the public to assist with finding homes and land which could be used for emergency housing.

"We can't do this alone ... If you know of properties that might be available over winter, such as seasonal worker accommodation or private rental homes, we'd like to hear about those.

"We'd also like to identify small land options suitable for temporary housing with power and water connections ready to go, such as marae and private land."

The $37m for MSD came from underspend under the previous Government. The $63m was new money and was on top of the $300m committed by the National Government in 2016.

This funding includes nearly $8m for putting homeless into motel units. Ardern said it was not a preferred option, but it would be irresponsible to rule it out at this stage.

Earlier, following the welcome to Te Puea Marae, Ardern chatted with those gathered and cradled a young baby brought to her.

She thanked the marae for its efforts in housing

Te Puea Marae trustees chair Hurimoana Dennis welcomed the announcement.

"It gives us a lot more reassurance and confidence that we are going to have some places to put our whanau," he said.

"It gives us a lot more confidence and reassurance we have a government that ... wants to take this out of crisis mode and put it into manageable mode."

Dennis said his marae had helped 29 families made up of 113 family members in 2017 and 2018.

"To be fair the homes are part of the equation, but quite an an easy part of the equation," he said.

"The difficult challenges are the actual families themselves because they have a wide range of complex issues."