As many as 4000 people could be homeless in Tauranga - survey

Sam Kelway
Source: 1News

Research released today suggests as many as 4000 people could be homeless in one of our fastest growing cities.

File photo.

The Tauranga City Council survey focused on harder to reach communities to gather information on standards of living, crime, accessibility to services, technology, and transport. 

The survey found that of the 5222 responses - 4835 of which were from Tauranga residents - roughly three percent said they were experiencing homelessness.

But with the nature of homelessness being private and hidden, the survey suggests the number is “likely to be much higher” than 4000.

Close to 70 per cent of respondents own or partially own a home.

Nearly half of those surveyed said their savings wouldn’t last beyond a month, 20 per cent had no savings and 14 per cent said they do not have the financial means to meet their everyday needs.

Lori Luke, general manager of the Acorn Foundation, said the data will provide better outcomes for the community.

“This research provides us with information we haven’t previously been able to gather. This data will be tremendously useful for the local funders and the charitable organisations we support,” he says.

Crime in the city was lower than the national average (29%), but nearly 20 per cent reported being a victim of crime, and areas like Tauranga South, Gate Pa, Merivale and the city centre were where most felt unsafe.

Nearly 5500 people are affected by family harm, with 63 per cent of those surveyed saying they were victims of domestic abuse, while 32 per cent said they’d been abused as children.

Tauranga Mayor Tenby Powell says the research has helped identify areas where resources can make positive change.

“Furthermore, it gives us weight when lobbying central government for improved health, social and community funding in Tauranga,” he says.

Meanwhile, nearly half of those surveyed chose to live in the city because of the beaches and scenery, a third enjoyed the climate, and a quarter are there because it’s where they grew up.

Fourty per cent said they would like less traffic and better infrastructure.