As winter approaches, the Delhi government is gearing up to provide the homeless proper care in night shelters.
The government’s action plan for the homeless includes measures such as asking religious bodies to adopt night shelters and asking people to donate food and blankets to the needy.
Though the number of shelters across the city is likely to remain the same, the capacity of the Ghazipur home will be strengthened. Temporary shelters will be built if required, officials said.
“We will issue a public notice advising people what they need to do if they want to help the homeless. People living in shelters tend to stay on road to get food and other donations. But we will advise people to donate at our centres so that the homeless stay in the shelter,” said an official of Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB).
DUSIB has invited applications from religious institutions, requesting them to look after night shelters.
“There were set of agencies that used to run the shelters every year but no one checked whether they are performing their duties and utilising the government funds as desired. We have reviewed the entire process and have pruned the list. For the first time, religious institutions such as gurdwaras, churches and madarsas have been requested to adopt shelters,” said a DUSIB official.
The board has set up about 200 night shelters and a monitoring committee has been formed. Issues such as occupancy and cleanliness will be monitored at the top level. DUSIB officials said Shelter Management Agencies (SMAs) and the supervisory staff have been warned after it was observed that field staff inspects the premises and submits false reports about the ground situation.
The board has 92 permanent shelters and 112 porta cabins that are operational throughout the year. For winter, DUSIB has constructed 57 temporary shelters outside religious places, under flyovers and near construction sites.
DUSIB’s night shelters have a capacity of 20,000 and this winter about 10,000 used night shelters. The most crowded shelters were those near the railway stations and bus stops.
A round-the-clock control room has been set up at DUSIB office in ITO to receive complaints and information about homeless and make requests for donation.