Auckland's mayor says about 800 people were sleeping rough in Auckland last month and living a "miserable existence" which no one should experience.
Along with 800 people currently living in Auckland without shelter, there are another 2874 people including 1299 children in temporary and emergency accommodation, according to initial figures released from the Ira Mata, Iri Tangata: Auckland's Homeless Council by Auckland mayor Phil Goff today.
Goff said the latest data, collected by volunteers walking the streets of Auckland who counted 179 people sleeping rough and 157 sleeping in cars, would be used to inform policy and services to solve the pressing issue.
A validation exercise showed that this represented just 40 per cent of people living without shelter.
"800 people sleeping rough in Auckland is 800 too many ...
"I took part in the count and walked the streets of Mangere in the middle of the night. I brought home to me the miserable existence for many people who sleep rough in our region."
Auckland council had been supporting the Housing First initiative aimed at providing homeless people secure, affordable and healthy homes and said the number of people sleeping on the streets could have been much higher without the service.
The service has been running for 15 months and has housed 582 adults.
"Our whole community has a role in ending homelessness. We are working closely with Government, NGOs and community organisations and results from the Homeless Count will inform a sector wide strategy to end homelessness in Auckland," Goff said.
Housing First programme manager Fiona Hamilton said the latest figures showed there was a significant need for permanent, stable homes for these adults and families.
The data collected did not include people living in overcrowded homes, couch-surfing or living in camping grounds or boarding houses.
"Ultimately this count was about people, gathering this information to assign better support and helping our communities take another step forward in ending homelessness in Auckland so that it is rare, brief and non-recurring."
Lifewise chief executive Moira Lawler said it was good that the Government's effort to get people into transitional and emergency housing appeared to be working, with 1847 people currently being accommodated.
"I guess from our point of view we need to remind ourselves they are not houses. They are in temporary accommodation. We have some work to do to ensure there is enough of a pipeline to ensure those people will get permanent housing quickly."
Lawler said there was an acute housing shortage and finding long-term accommodation was still a struggle.
The introduction of KiwiBuild would help provide homes to first home buyers and there were tools available to help people access private rentals, but it would still take time, she said.