According to the United Nations Development Programme’s Homeless Survey 2010 report there are 56,000 homeless in Delhi. At present, Delhi has around 150 night shelters; 84 temporary and 66 permanent. This is significantly less than one night shelter for every one lakh people across Delhi as mandated in Delhi Master Plan 2021. The capacity of these shelters varies from 40 to 200 people. According to the Delhi’s Urban Development Minister, the total capacity of permanent night shelters is 9,400 and the capacity of temporary shelters is 4,200. The Delhi government has earmarked Rs 6 crore for the 2012-13 financial year to construct, manage and maintain shelters in Delhi.
ACORN’s Delhi Partner Janpahal is managing three temporary shelters and one permanent shelter. As Delhi continues to shiver in the grip of a cold wave, we are grappling with the task of providing shelter to the homeless citizens of India. All our shelters are nearly always overcrowded. We are stretched to our limits. Delhi urban Shelter Improvement Board has provided the basic infrastructure of porta cabins with water, power, toilets, blankets, carpets etc. We regularly outreach to homeless citizens to bring them to shelters where we engage them with various kinds of programmes. We provide facilities like locker and first aid and link the homeless patients to nearby hospitals. We also conduct counselling sessions with chemically dependent homeless citizens for drugs de-addiction. Newspapers are available in shelters. Targeted training workshops and awareness building are regular features of the programmes. Since most of the homeless residents are undocumented, we have concerted drive to get them counted in the census and enroll them as voters.