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The state of Homeless

In India, the homeless people can be found everywhere in  the cities. The most likely places are outside temples, under the flyovers, night shelters and traffic signals etc. They are nameless and homeless and remain unidentified when they die.

They end up being statistics in the police’s database. In Delhi no census or government body can put a number on the homeless population. Some of the homeless live alone, work and return to shelters to spend night. Many are jobless and depend on charities for food. The occupancy figures double during winter.

Many men lie to their families about having their own home in Delhi. Some families have lived in shelters for more than 10 years. Not all homeless are beggars, drug addicts or criminals. Not all beggars are homeless either. As per 2010 estimates, Bihar tops the state with 18,697 homeless people belong to and next with UP 17,821 and 6,822 from Delhi. 40% of homeless persons are daily wage labors, 21% rickshaw pullers and 5% rag pickers and 34% other small time jobs.

The Delhi government’s 197 night shelters have a capacity of only 16,174 people. Only 86 shelters are permanent structures. The rest are portable cabins. Since 2000, nine surveys put the number of homeless between 52,000 and 2,46,000.Around 22,000 people check into shelters each night and the rest sleep on roadsides and in parks. This year more than 400 people died and as per police records majority were addicts who died of drug over dose or dehydration.

In last 10 years,the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board under the state government social welfare department spent Rs. 10.90 crores on 197 shelters. Every month 45000 is released per shelter. But in 2016 the government has carried out no audit or inspection. In most shelters, residents say they are at the mercy of NGOs and have no grievance mechanism.

Source : Nameless,forsaken even in their Death, Hindustan Times,16th August,2016