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In the news: Whangārei's homeless population grows from 21 to 293 from 2018 to 2020

The number of people sleeping rough in one of New Zealand's "homeless hotspots" is growing at an alarming rate.

Our CEO Liz Cassidy-Nelson talks to RNZ reporter Sam Olley on homelessness in Whangārei.

...Liz Cassidy-Nelson (Ngāti Kahu o Torongare, Ngāti Hine, Te Kapotai, Te Māhurehure) heads Whangārei's Open Arms day centre for the homeless.

It provides kai, showers and spaces for rest, as well as social workers and housing support workers.

She said initially it was mostly single, middle-aged men who needed help from her team. Now it was entire families.

"That rise keeps rising and of course no one wants to fund a homeless day shelter. We are very similar to city missions around the country, yet we are living off the smell of an oily rag."

Homelessness was expected to get worse before it got better in Whangārei and that "just not good enough", she said.

"I am very aware of the people, my team, and that every day they see the faces of people that have nowhere to go. And we don't have a solution for them. We have no home for them."

Read the full story on RNZ