CHENNAI:The city has 8,325 homeless people, reveals a recent study by the Information and Resource Centre for the Deprived and Urban Communities (IRCDUC) and the Indian Community Welfare Organisation (ICCWO). The study says that 72 per cent of the homeless population have been living on the streets for over 30 years. The survey was carried out in six zones — Thiruvotriyur, Manali, Madhavaram, Royapuram, Thiru vi ka Nagar and Valasaravakkam. “We chose these six zones as they are the hotspots, where you can find maximum number of homeless people,” said Vanessa Peter from IRCDUC.
She pointed out that the situation of these people living on the streets hadn’t changed. “We have conducted many surveys in the past, this time too when we went and interacted with the people. It all seemed same, their concerns and problems had not changed,” said Vanessa.
She pointed out that 77 per cent of the homeless live on streets and had migrated to the city in search of employment. At least 99 per cent of them sleep on the roadside. The survey has also identified Royapuram with the highest number of homeless population.
“This area has homeless families living on streets for generations together, their places of occupation are nearby,” said Vanessa. At least three per cent of the homeless families earn less than Rs 50 per day, while 41 per cent earn between Rs 51 and Rs 200 per day.
As per the Supreme Court directive in WPC No. 196/2001, 75 shelters were require, but only 28 are operational. While the shelter homes accommodate a reasonable chunk of 2,271 people, of which more than half were women and girls, are still in need of a roof above their heads.
However, corporation officials say that they will be soon opening 40 more shelters in the city, by the end of this year. “We are determined to open 40 shelters in the city, but we also want NGOs to come forth and help research and identify the locations, so that we could start the homes within the vicinity of the peoples workplace,” said R Kannan, Deputy Commissioner of Health, Corporation of Chennai.
“Any programme for the urban homeless must envisage homeless shelters as a necessity. It is the first step to escape the disaster-like situation, in which they mostly find themselves in,” added Vanessa.
IN THE DARK
3 per cent of the homeless households earn less than Rs 50 per day
41 per cent earn between Rs 51 - Rs 200 per day.
99 per cent belonged to Schedule Caste
33 per cent do not have ration cards
Less than one per cent availed old age and widow pensions, etc