Such statistics come with a caveat. Obtaining accurate numbers is difficult, mostly due to wild variations in definitions around the globe. Also, measuring homelessness is costly: Cities may under-count due to embarrassment while individuals avoid officials due to shame and fear of arrest and harassment. Reasons for homelessness include “shortages of affordable housing, privatization of civic services, investment speculation in housing, unplanned and rapid urbanization, as well as poverty, unemployment and family breakdown,” Chamie explains.
“Also contributing is a lack of services and facilities for those suffering from mental illness, alcoholism or substance abuse and displacement caused by conflicts, natural disasters and government housing policies.” Even people with jobs can struggle to keep homes.
As experts debate whether the issue can be resolved or not, some governments offer support programs while others do what they can to chase the homeless off to other locales. –
Joseph Chamie in YaleGlobal looks further into the demographics for OECD countries and shows where New Zealand sits in this chart here.