A crisis heads south: the new homeless of Hamilton

Some Hamilton-based agencies say there has been an increase in rough sleepers who have come down from Auckland. Some say they are coming from all over, some say they have been here all along. One week last month, five cases of people sleeping in their cars had come to the attention of Hamilton’s St Vincent de Paul general manager Mike Rolton. “They come to see us for blankets, warm clothes, food,” he said. One was a 21 year old woman, found with her nine month old baby after she had parked on a suburban street and a homeowner followed the sound of a crying child. I wanted desperately to talk to her, but when Rolton asked she said she felt too ashamed.