Seasons of suffering for Homeless have no end

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Ila Kazmi-

Winter arrives with smog and pollution. Delhites are adopting measures to keep themselves safe. Like every year we will talk about homeless people dying due to this harsh wheater. But nothing changes every year cycle is repeated.

In the last year, 1600 People died just because of extreme wheater.Homeless people are being neglected in every season. Government officials take some initiative but situation remain the same.

In 2011 there were 46,724 homeless people according to the census and there are around 261 shelters operating in Delhi. Amongst them, only 21-night shelter is solely for women.

For many like Muskan, the night shelters are not an option. As they find it difficult to manage in a place where they don’t have people from their community. They say that they feel more secure on roads than shelter.

” People say me to get into a night shelter. I am a single woman living in this city. I don’t know anyone apart from my community which lives here at pavement (Nizamuddin). I do have many belongings what will I do without them in this big city” said Muskan who recently started living on the pavement as her husband left her alone to die.

Another woman Rabeela who is married complains that the authorities in night shelter don’t allow her son to live with her and so she has no option.

Further,  the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board is planning to equip every shelter with tv and food so that homeless people get attracted towards the night shelters.

Delhi homeless would rather sleep on pavement than spend a night in the shelter. As shelter have strict regulations and some women said that the other people living there already misbehave with them.

According to them, they would prefer to live with their small group as they feel safe in case of any conflict. Shahina said that inside shelter they get separated from other ladies of her group.

Then there are people who have there small belongings like a redi, rickshaw and some carts and they could not live that.

What they need is not just government so-called schemes. There is a large number of single working men and women who are earning from labour work or are still in search of work. It’s our responsibility that we ensure that people who put on so much labour for our help can at least get a shelter otherwise they will die  whether its winter, summer or rains

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