56,000 homeless in Delhi, finds UNDP
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There is finally a definite figure to the number of homeless people in the city. Delhi has nearly 56,000 homeless people, says a survey conducted by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The government has accepted the draft survey report prepared by the UNDP, in association with Mother, an NGO, as an official estimate of the number of homeless in Delhi.
The report, titled 'Homeless Survey-2010', says the Capital has a total of 55,955 people living without any shade or shelter. The Unique Identification Authority of India has also accepted the survey in giving Aadhar numbers to the homeless.
"We accept the report as the starting point to make future plans with regard to providing shelters for the homeless. This is the first authentic survey of the homeless conducted in the city," Vijay Sharma, Director (Night Shelters), Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board, told Newsline.
However, this year the government is in a position to house only 12,000 homeless people, he said.
Dr Amod Tyagi of St Stephen's Hospital, the chief coordinator for the report, said, "Our intention is to find feasible solutions in providing safe shelters for the homeless. The need is to have a proper shelter policy. Our calculations indicate that there is a need for at least 1,000 shelters in Delhi; but the tented night shelters are very risky."
Delhi has a total of 64 permanent shelters, and till last year, 84 temporary tented shelters were put up by the government across various locations during winter.
"We realised that the placing of the temporary shelters was not good, and they have been very susceptible to incidents of fire. The shelters are overcrowded and have very bad living conditions. Only 18 of the temporary shelters are remaining now, and they'll be phased out soon," a senior Delhi government official said.
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