CHENNAI: The Chennai corporation is set to open its schools to homeless families in the city on Sunday. Following a court order, which mandated that the city corporation provides food and shelter to homeless people on the day of ‘janata curfew’, the officials have been forced to turn schools into shelters. Our shelters, in its present capacity, may be enough to accommodate around 3000-4000 more homeless persons who may seek food, staying capacity is at 2500, said a senior corporation official.
“However, we are ready to house any number of people who come since it’s only for a day,” said a senior official. While the civic body is all set to accommodate homeless persons for the one-day curfew, with the Corona pandemic calling for quarantine at home, experts are left wondering those at night shelters would be able to protect themselves and others.
Vanessa Peter of the Information and Resource Centre for the Deprived Urban Communities (IRCDUC) said that a series of measures should be in place at night shelters in order to ensure that the inmates are safe. In a letter to the corporation commissioner, she stated that alcohol based sanitisers should be made available at entry gates and living area and that hand cleaning must be supervised.
“In shelters where the number of residents are low, the administration might have closed a few rooms and all residents may be occupying only one or two rooms. In such cases, depending upon the situation, closed rooms may be used to decongest,” the letter stated. In mornings and evenings, temperature should be recorded for staffs regularly, it added.