Auckland's specialised court for homeless people may not survive the year if it cannot secure more funding, the Auckland Council's Community Safety Forum has been told.
The New Beginnings Court, a pilot established in November 2010, was set up to help stem the "revolving door" of homeless people charged with low-level offending.
Arrest rates for those involved in the programme have reduced by 66 per cent, and have been sustained for six months following.
Bed nights in prison reduced by 78 per cent during participation in the court's programmes, and by 60 per cent afterwards.
Emergency department visits were also reduced by more than 15 per cent.
But the court's programme manager will no longer be funded come December.
John McCarthy, the general manager of Lifewise, told the forum this morning that only about half of the eight financial backers of the court had committed to the next round of funding.
"Some of the groups involved have indicated they won't fund the position because they are paying us in kind," he said.
"For example Housing New Zealand won't support with funding because it is giving extra housing."
McCarthy said the future of the court was unclear if the key role of programme manager was not maintained.
"We are struggling to continue the role - and without it, the court won't function."
The programme manager is currently employed by the New Zealand Police, and the Auckland Council has already committed to giving the court $10,000 a year.
McCarthy said he would be open to going to the Government for extra funding, but that could be difficult as there was no department that dealt specifically with homelessness.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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