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Homelessness in Napier

Napier's Clive Square. Like many cities, Napier has a small number of residents who experience homelessness.

A number of strategies are employed across the world to support people who experience homelessness. In New Zealand, there are a range of services and supports available to address housing needs and other issues sometimes affecting people who are homeless. Strategies and supports in New Zealand vary according to the nature and size of the issue and the availability of support services in each location.

Napier has had a small pocket of people ‘sleeping rough’ for several years. Over the past 12 months, the bus terminal became their destination of choice. Concerns raised by the community resulted in us commissioning a safety assessment of the area (Crime Prevention through Environmental Design).

The assessment found a number of physical changes that could be made to improve safety in this area. It also suggested relocating some of the support services (e.g the Lighthouse and the soup kitchen) to reduce the concentration of these services in the area. Further investigation into the scale of homelessness was also suggested.

Reducing homelessness is not something that can be accomplished by one agency or sector.

Cross Sector Group - Homelessness

A Cross Sector Group comprising several government and community agencies has been established to collaborate and act together to reduce homelessness in Napier.  

Napier City Council is the lead agency responsible for coordinating the group.  Its current focus is to determine the extent of people living without shelter (sleeping rough or in cars, tents etc) in Napier and to identify what can be done to help people in these situations.

Outreach Service Pilot

This project has been initiated to help us find out more about those who are living on the street in Napier.  The service has three objectives:

  • To ascertain the nature and scale of those who are without shelter in Napier by gathering information, researching and analysing to produce documented evidence of the current situation. 
  • To develop and implement a service that works alongside individuals who are entrenched ‘rough sleepers’ or at high risk of becoming so.
  • To make recommendations on effective actions and/or steps to be taken to address the situation at the end of the pilot.

The pilot will run for three months starting mid March.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. When was the Cross Sector Group set up?
  2. Who is in the group?
  3. How many people are homeless in Napier?
  4. Why are people homeless?
  5. What is Council's role in solving this issue?
  6. Why can't Napier have a night shelter?
  7. Who is running the Outreach Service Pilot?
  8. What happens at the end of the Outreach Service Pilot?

When was the Cross Sector Group set up?

Following a community hui in August 2015.

Who is in the group?

The members of the group are from the following agencies:

Citizens Advice Bureau Napier, Hawke’s Bay District Health Board, Housing New Zealand Corporation, Ministry of Social Development, Napier City Council, NZ Police, Salvation Army Corp, Trinity Methodist Church and Whatever it Takes (WIT).

How many people are homeless in Napier?

There are no specific numbers on how many people in Napier are homeless.  We understand that there are 6-12 people ‘sleeping rough’, mainly in the CBD. There are others who sleep in cars and tents. These people are considered ‘without shelter’.  There are people who are living in temporary accommodation such as camping grounds or staying with family/whanau or friends.  

Why are people homeless?

There are a range of factors contributing to why people experience homelessness. They range from issues of safety in their normal home, lack of social service support, addiction, physical and mental health issues and financial issues. Often the situations are complex.

What is Council's role in solving this issue?

Council is responsible for making our public spaces accessible, safe and able to be used for what they are there for.  We also work with others to help address social issues in Napier.

Why can't Napier have a night shelter?

The extent of the homelessness situation needs to be understood to determine the appropriate response. The Outreach Service Pilot will provide recommendations as to what suitable actions may be taken.

Who is running the Outreach Service Pilot?

Whatever It Takes Trust is providing the Outreach Service Pilot project. For more information about Whatever It Takes Trust see their website

What happens at the end of the Outreach Service Pilot?

Following the pilot, recommendations will be made to the Cross Sector Group – Homelessness and the Council.  The people who have accessed the 1:1 assistance will be supported into ongoing services if they wish. 

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