Sukrutham to house homeless transgenders

The state government has proposed to implement the Sukrutham Housing project that aims to provide land to homeless transgender people through local self institutions.

Published: 16th January 2021 05:57 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th January 2021 05:57 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

KOCHI: The state government has proposed to implement the Sukrutham Housing project that aims to provide land to homeless transgender people through local self institutions.The first-of-its-kind initiative will offer a safe, dwelling place for the financially weak members of the transgender community. The government has also proposed to launch an online portal ‘Kiranam’ for qualified, skilled and semi-skilled members of the community.

According to the 2014-15 transgender survey, there are about 25,000 transgender people in the state, out of whom less than 4,000 have revealed their gender status. The survey was submitted to the social justice department by Kochi-based organisation Sangama.

The Sukrutham Housing scheme will be implemented by the Social Justice Department in association with community-based organisations and various local bodies. “Lack of shelters is a major concern for the community. The department has already put forward the proposal of implementing housing schemes for the homeless transgender population and the project was included in the policy speech by the Governor. It is under consideration by the government,” said Sheeba George, director, social justice department.

“Since most of them had to leave their homes or were disowned after revealing their gender identity, a majority of transgenders are still living on the streets. While some are lodged at short-term shelter homes, others live in rented houses doing odd jobs,” said Syama S Prabha, project officer at the Transgender Cell of the social justice department.

She added that the homeless transgenders in the state will benefit from the implementation of the Sukrutham Housing project. However, only those with a Transgender ID card by the social justice department will be able to avail the benefit. Currently, only about 1,300 transgenders in the state have the ID card.Syama also said the online portal ‘Kiranam’ will not only help in providing employment opportunities to the skilled and semi-skilled members of the community, but also help the organisations and various government departments to select the candidates according to their skills. Through the online portal, the community members will be able to find the jobs based on their skills easily.

The members of the transgender community have pinned their hopes on the new housing project as most of them are facing difficulties due to the Covid crisis. “I was working as a house maid before the pandemic struck, earning a decent living. However, the Covid crisis left me with no work and I have not paid my rent for seven months. Since my family disowned me after revealing my gender identity, I have nowhere else to live. It will be a relief for us if the new housing project is implemented,” says Revathi J R, a transwoman from Ambalamukku, who is currently working in a catering centre.

Sathya Narayanan, another transgender from Kochi who runs a dance school, said, “Due to the pandemic, I had to shut down the school for months. I survived with the two kits provided by the government. More schemes ensuring shelter for people of the community should be implemented.”Meanwhile Prijith P K, president of Queerythm said, “Due to the financial crisis, many are forced to do sex work. Although over six short-term shelter homes were opened in the state, only three in Thiruvananthapuram, Kottayam and Kozhikode are currently functioning.”



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