In search of ‘home’ for wellness: Mental health social workers’ views on homelessness in mental health


  • Shoichi Isogai



homelessness, iterative homelessness, recovery, mental health social work


INTRODUCTION: There is a lack of acknowledgement of the homelessness crisis for tāngata whaiora (all people who have lived experience of mental illness and/or are users of mental health services, including Māori) in Aotearoa/New Zealand. This article reports the findings from an exploratory study of how mental health social workers perceive the challenge of homelessness amongst tāngata whaiora in urban Auckland.

METHOD: This small exploratory qualitative study used semi-structured interviews with mental health social workers to discover their views about the issue of homelessness among tāngata whaiora in urban Auckland.

FINDINGS: The research illustrates that homelessness is prevalent among tāngata whaiora in urban Auckland, and the cyclical nature of this problem presents a serious obstacle for their recovery. This study also found that the lives of tāngata whaiora are affected by iterative homelessness. Participants were clear that tāngata whaiora do not choose to be homeless; rather individual, structural and community factors cause them to be homeless.

CONCLUSION: The policy and mental health practice implications of these findings are discussed.


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How to Cite

Isogai, S. (2016). In search of ‘home’ for wellness: Mental health social workers’ views on homelessness in mental health. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, 28(3), 67–78.



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