Department of Building and Housing officials say they are researching the extent of homelessness and overcrowding in Christchurch in the wake of the region's earthquakes.
A spokesperson for the department says the project will aid policymakers help people still in poor living conditions.
It will consult with a range of agencies to find out if homelessness and overcrowding have increased since the Canterbury earthquakes and if so, what the appropriate policy response should be.
A Christchurch housing advocate says the move is long overdue.
Leanne Curtis, from the community group CanCern, says the move is needed but she wonders if the officials will really be able to tap into the people best positioned to inform their investigation.
She says many residents who are living in sub-standard housing don't ask for help because they know others who are worse off.