Govt announces $100m plan to combat homelessness

The Government has announced a $100 million plan to combat homelessness on Friday.

It includes a $37 million investment to increase housing supply, and $63.4 million to house and support more than 1450 of New Zealand's homeless people through the Housing First programme over the next four years.

"We're pulling out all the stops to support people in need and urgently increase housing supply this winter," Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford says.

"We're also investing heavily in the future of the Housing First programme to support our most vulnerable homeless people and families."

The Government warns the colder temperatures will result in increased pressure on the housing sector. It will spend $26.9m to secure additional transitional housing places, $7.8m on short-term contracted motel units and $2.5m for Housing First places.

"By the end of winter, we will have more than 1500 additional transitional, public and Housing First places, compared to the end of last year," Mr Twyford says.

"Homelessness is the sharp end of the national housing crisis which was created over the past decade. New Zealand needs more houses and we're working on this."

The Housing First programme aims to support chronically homeless people or those who are homeless with multiple, complex issues such as mental health and substance abuse.

The Ministry of Social Development will fund providers to deliver Housing First services and pay rent subsidies for tenants.

"Housing First is a programme for the most vulnerable people and families; those who are really struggling with long-term homelessness or facing multiple and complex needs. It aims to end homelessness, not just manage it," says Mr Twyford.

However National's Social Housing spokesperson Simon O'Connor says the emergency housing announcement is a "pale imitation" of the previous Government's support.

"In 2016 the National Government announced a $304 million emergency housing package for an extra 1400 places at any one time," he says.

"This Government has made wild claims about the number of homeless people in New Zealand and Housing Minister Phil Twyford even told the AM Show this morning that homelessness was getting worse.

"But his answer is to do less and invest less to end it than the previous Government. His $100 million announcement today is a third of the size of National's package and it's not even all new money."