Coronavirus: Jacinda Ardern 'worried' about homeless community during lockdown

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the Government is worried about the homeless community during the lockdown period and is working to find ways to help them.

During her press conference on Sunday, she revealed "several hundred units" are now available for homeless people.

"[The Ministry of Housing and Urban Development] have done that last week. They had several hundred units identified and available," she said.

"We've also, as you'll recall, put $27 million into services like those who are working with the homeless population for the very fact that we are worried about that group."

The $27 million package was announced on Thursday to ensure non-government organisations (NGOs) and community groups could continue to provide food and other essential goods to those who need it.

"We want that workforce to be able to continue to work alongside them and make sure that they're well-cared for through this period."

NGOs who work with the homeless community are considered an essential service, so are able to continue operating throughout the lockdown.

"There might be other mechanisms and ways they're using at the moment to try and change the way that they're working, and we're supporting them," Ardern said.

The package was welcomed by Social Service Providers Aotearoa (SSPA) national manager Brenda Pilott, particularly how it will ensure people get food. 

"Community social services are already feeling the effects of the increased demand for help from families struggling to cope with the lockdown," she said. 

"There's huge concern for families lacking the resources to get enough food, so it's good to see this as one of the strong focuses of this package."