Homelessness 'triple' what it was last year - MP

There's concern homelessness is worsening in Auckland as the country heads into winter.

An investigation by Three's The Nation last year highlighted the number of families forced to sleep in cars.

It sparked national outrage and a multimillion-dollar response by the Government.

However, MP for Manukau East Jenny Selesa says it hasn't solved the problem.

"I did not expect to be telling you that in my own office, I'm seeing triple the number of families who are wanting and needing to be housed. I absolutely did not.

"I would have thought a year on, there would be a better solution."

The latest housing data reveals more than 81 percent of potential first-home buyers cannot afford to buy, and two thirds can't even afford to rent.

An Auckland man who helped highlight the plight of people living in their cars says he's planning to help others in need.

Rim Ihaka helped put a face to the thousands of people forced into homelessness by high rents and sale prices.

A year on from The Nation's initial investigation, Mr Ihaka says he's getting his life on track.

"If things work for me… there are people I am going to take from the park. They were there for me, so I'm going to be there for them. I'm going to give them a room. They won't have to pay nothing. I've been working. I won't ask anything of them - just keep our house clean."

There's concern others aren't so lucky, and with winter approaching, social agencies are worried more people than ever will be left out in the cold.

A housing policy advisor for the Council of Christian Social Services says homelessness is getting worse, that's despite the Government investing $354 million into emergency housing to free up around 1600 places by the end of June.

Paul Barber told The Nation the problem is worse than the official numbers show.

"It's quite possible we've got 45,000 people in severe housing deprivation or homelessness."

The Nation / Newshub.

Watch the video above for Mike Wesley-Smith's full report.

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