NEW DELHI: As the city saw its first day of lockdown, civil society organisations urged the Delhi government to open underutilised and vacant government buildings for the homeless.While occupancy at shelter homes is potentially going to increase, social distancing would also mean more and more people will still have to be on the roads, said activists.
“With homeless people being encouraged to stay in shelters, we have received reports that occupancy is increasing,” said Shivani Chaudhry, executive director of Housing and Land Rights Network. “The government should consider utilising its vacant buildings, community and marriage halls, and school buildings,” she added.
Sunil Kumar Aledia, founder member of the Centre for Holistic Development said,“We have appealed to the The Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board for adequate sleeping arrangements for the homeless so that they can practise distancing. We have also urged the authorities to provide adequate water, soap and food.”
“The challenge is to reach out to people as daily wages have stopped and charitable institutions have closed down. People would be accommodated around the shelters’ premises to avoid overcrowding at the shelter homes,” said DUSIB member expert Bipin Rai.