NEW DELHI: In the last three weeks, the number of people taking refuge in night shelters across the city rose from around 7,000 to 10,000, a staggering increase of over 3,000.
Officials of the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) stated that since the Delhi government took the initiative to bring in more homeless people to night shelters, the situation has improved.
"Volunteers are reaching to out the homeless, as directed by the Delhi government. This has changed the picture," said VP Jha, Deputy director (night shelters), DSUIB.
Replying to a query by Millennium Post, Jha said that the shelters of Kashmiri Gate and Sarai Kale Khan witnessed a significant rise this month.
"In the last three weeks, each night shelter across the city has witnessed nearly 150 more people every night," Jha said.
The data was compiled based on the entries that DUSIB maintains in each night shelter. "We think that these numbers will rise by December, as the work is going very well," he said.
While officials are happy with the rise in shelter seekers, some people have pointed out that the rising numbers has led to a scarcity of space.
"People have increased and this led to a scarcity of space, food and blankets," said an official at a night shelter. However, people staying at the shelters are content with the arrangements, where the conditions are significantly better than what they would find outside.
"We share blankets and stand at long queues for food. But here, it is much better than the winter nights on the roads," said Fatima, a 30-year old woman staying at the night shelter in Kashmiri Gate with her three kids.
She said that a group of volunteers rescued her from Nizamuddin, where she used to beg and sleep on the roads.
DUSIB officials further said that they have informed all the night shelters to submit information on deficit blankets and beds to the authorities. "We will provide more blankets as soon as we receive the proper number. We are all set to distribute them," an official said.
According to sources, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal himself urged DSUIB to reach out more the homeless and bring them to the shelters. The Board has also started a helpline number where it receives information about people or families sleeping on the roads.