Emergency housing 

How do I find emergency housing?

Emergency housing can be very hard to find. If you are in urgent need of a place to stay, call the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) on 0800 559 009 or visit the nearest MSD Service Centre. Find out about how MSD might be able to help you, on the MSD's Social Housing website.

Depending on your circumstances, you might be able to get accommodation for up to 12 weeks in government-funded emergency housing. More information about the eligibility criteria is on the Work and Income website. You will have to pay for the accommodation, but the rent will be calculated at no more than 25% of your income.

If you qualify for emergency accommodation but there is none available, you can ask about the Emergency Housing Special Needs Grant (see below).

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I’ve heard there’s a new benefit for emergency housing. Is that right?

There is an Emergency Housing Special Needs Grant which you can apply for if you are in immediate need of housing but there is nothing suitable available.

The grant is for up to seven days’ accommodation (but can be extended for seven days at a time in exceptional circumstances), for example in a hostel or motel, and generally you will not need to pay this back. It is generally only available once per 52 week period. More information about the grant is on the Work and Income website.

To see if you qualify for the grant, Work and income will assess your situation against a number of criteria - for example your income, your residency status, your current living situation, whether you have exhausted all options available to you (friends and family etc). The full list of criteria is on the Work and Income website.