Hundreds living in cars as winter chill bites

Source: 1News

Hundreds of people are living in cars in the middle of winter, according to the latest figures, with those working on the ground describing the situation as heart-breaking.

When people apply for social housing, the Ministry of Social Development records where they are living.

At the end of 2017, of those who asked for help, 108 said they lived in cars. However, last month saw 480 people living in their vehicles.

Lifewise Youth Housing leader Aaron Hendry said he was not surprised by the the numbers.

"It's more than frustrating, it's heart-breaking".

He was concerned it could be lower than the real figure as many young people they worked with were not counted.

Hendry said some of the young people felt safer on the street or living in cars than in emergency hotels.

The Auckland City Mission usually gets about 15 calls a month saying people are sleeping in cars or rough - recently that's increased up to about 15 calls a week.

Associate Housing Minister Marama Davidson said the rise in numbers was partially due to better reporting of the numbers.

"Everybody needs to have a good safe home a place to be able to feel warm, healthy and secure and sleeping in cars in not acceptable."

National leader Christopher Luxon said the Government needed to take responsibility for the issue.

"Housing has been an abject failure on all levels in New Zealand."