Māori researchers shed light on severity of youth homelessness

Homelessness is catastrophic in any phase of life, but is especially difficult for young people. Symptomatic of a range of complex challenges, homelessness signals real deprivation, when the basic need for shelter cannot be met. Photo: Taufiq Klinkenborg.

Half of those experiencing homelessness in Aotearoa are under the age of 25 and new research has identified key contributing factors to the ongoing crisis.

Ngā Wai a Te Tūī, Unitec’s Kaupapa Māori and Indigenous Research Centre in collaboration with Manaaki Rangatahi ki Tāmaki Makaurau Youth Homelessness Collective have released a research report exposing a severe lack of reliable data, services, resources, and funding targeting youth homelessness.

Manaaki Rangatahi ki Tāmaki Makaurau Youth Homelessness Collective gives rangatahi experiencing homelessness a voice through providing advocacy support across social services and the housing system.

Lead Co-Ordinator of Manaaki Rangatahi Bianca Johanson says kaupapa and rangatahi Māori led research into homelessness is decades overdue.

“We have been waiting for data and research that is kaupapa Māori led, that shines a light on the exhausting and painful human rights issue that is our rangatahi having nowhere to go that is safe, warm, and provides manaakitanga.”

The report found policy provisions addressing youth homelessness are ineffective and highlighted the complete absence of clear pathways helping guide and support young people into safe and secure housing.

Co-author Maia Ratana says, “We are incredibly concerned about the lack of oversight across the housing system with regards to young people experiencing homelessness. A lack of coordination between agencies and services, gaps in research and data, and poor policy and service provision contributes to young people’s challenges and inability to access social and housing support.”

Bianca says, “There is much more mahi to do, but this amazing rangahau gives us hope that we can begin to show the extent of the shameful youth housing crises that we are currently facing. We must all mahi together to prevent and end youth homelessness forever.”

The authors would like to acknowledge that the report was written over the past year (2021-2022) and recognise the significant investment in Budget 2022 to support transitional housing for youth. In addition, the government investment in research to support youth and children is commendable. The research team and Manaaki Rangatahi will collaborate and undertake further research into youth homelessness in a new MBIE (Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment) Endeavour-funded research programme Generation Kāinga: Rangatahi building a regenerative and resilient Aotearoa (2022-2026).

This scoping report is part of a broader research programme, Urban Intergenerational Kāinga Innovations, funded by the National Science Challenge: Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities – He Kāinga Whakamana Tangata, Whakamana Taiao.

Read the research

Paul, J. & Ratana, M. (2022). Youth Homelessness in Tāmaki Makaurau, Aotearoa New Zealand. Scoping report for Manaaki Rangatahi ki Tāmaki Makaurau Youth Homelessness Collective, 56pgs. Auckland: Ngā Wai a te Tūī Māori & Indigenous Research Centre. ISBN 978-0-473-62560-3.

If you enjoyed this article you may also enjoy World’s top university awards scholarship to young Māori researcher.

Share – Tuari

Date posted: 12 October 2022