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.
The report stresses:
“Homelessness is catastrophic in any phase of life, but is especially difficult for our young people … Homelessness for youth also represents the loss of stability at a time when having a home base is critical for the exploration of one’s identity."
“The situation is more layered and complex for rangatahi Māori (Māori youth). Homelessness for Māori is attributed to colonisation and historical events that have destabilised Māori systems and kinship structures. The research finds that Māori young people and children are experiencing some of the worst housing deprivation in Aotearoa and there is no doubt that homelessness is a result of structural issues."
Despite the confronting impact of youth homelessness, the report provides some hopeful examples of housing initiatives that are making a real difference for rangatahi.