In two years, Delhi’s homeless will have the option to stay in multi-storey shelters with separate rooms for families and floors for women. Under the National Urban Livelihood Mission (NULM), the Delhi government has received funds from the Centre and they will use it to construct four multi-storey shelters across the Capital.
The new shelters at Rohini, Dwarka, Nangloi and Geeta colony and will be completed within two years.
“We have family shelters in Delhi but many families stay together in open shelters. Once the multi-storey shelters are completed, we will have separate enclosures for families to ensure privacy. We will keep one floor for women while rest of the space can be used for the homeless,” said an official of Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB), which manages night shelters in Delhi.
The agency has already prepared for this year’s winters. Around 22,000 homeless check into the city’s shelters each night and the rest sleep on road sides and in parks.
Since 2000, nine surveys — including one by the Commissioners of the Supreme Court — put the number of homeless between 52,000 and 2,46,000.
The board has 92 permanent shelters and 112 porta cabins that are operational throughout the year. For winters, the DUSIB has constructed 57 temporary shelters outside religious places, under flyovers and near construction sites.
The DUSIB’s night shelters have a capacity of 20,000 and last winter about 18,000 homeless used the 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 the DUSIB office in ITO to receive complaints and information about the homeless. A monitoring committee has also 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.