The Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) Sunday urged rich citizens to refrain from giving blankets or food to the homeless and, instead, donate them to the government’s night shelters.
DUSIB CEO V K Jain said, “One of the biggest problems is the rich trying to donate (to the homeless) to seek blessings. If you want blessings, please don’t seek them at the cost of the lives of the homeless. If you keep giving blankets, clothes, food to them, they will not come to night shelters. Please make donations to shelters so that the homeless are encouraged to come to the shelters.”
He added that the DUSIB can only “persuade” the homeless to stay at the shelters and cannot force them.
On the data released by NGO Centre for Holistic Development, which put the number of deaths of homeless between January 19 and 20 at seven, Jain said there is no clarity on what caused the deaths.
“There can be several reasons behind the deaths — crime, drug addiction or an illness,” said Jain.
He added that in case of a death, there is no mechanism to inform the DUSIB about it. “How can the DUSIB be held responsible?” he said.
At present, there are 260 night shelters that can accommodate 18,928 people. These include 84 permanent night shelters, 115 porta cabins and 59 tents. Of the 260 shelters, 20 are for women, 12 for families, 12 for children and three for drug addicts.
“We have rescued 312 homeless people through our mobile app and 114 from calls made to our control room,” Jain added.