New Zealand sheltered its homeless during Covid-19 – but can it last?
Labour-led government has pledged $100m to keep 1,200 motel rooms available for the homeless for a year but obstacles to cementing gains remain
It was an unexpected outcome of the strict lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19 in New Zealand: after one month rough sleeping appeared to have been all but eliminated in the country. Advocates said it was the closest New Zealand had come in modern times to ensuring everyone had shelter, with only “a handful” of people living on streets in the country.
“People who have never been housed are now temporarily in housing,” said Chris Farrelly, the chief executive of Auckland City Mission, a social services charity in New Zealand’s largest city. “They’re saying to us, which they’ve never said before, ‘Please, can you keep me in this place?’”