Millennium Post

Free blankets & food to the homeless at night shelters to beat the chill

With plummeting temperature and chilly wintry days ahead, a large number of homeless living in shelter homes across the Capital now have a genuine reason to smile. Amid a deluge of reports of severe hardships faced by this poorest of the poor section, concerned departments of the Delhi government along with several other voluntary organisations have reportedly been extending assistance to such people. The agencies, concerned with the plight of the homeless, have started to provide snacks and food, besides other facilities at these shelters.

“As winter approaches, the government in association with several self-help groups involved in philanthropic work has been working overtime in order to provide relief to these homeless people and has sought support from all possible sources. When a homeless person, better known as a daily labourer or even a beggar, come at the shelter to spend the night, we offer them proper meals, blankets, and tea with snacks in the morning in an attempt to give them a pleasant surprise every morning. We have even provided a television set for their entertainment. Further, we are in the process to provide them employment so that their plight would be reduced,” said Rajesh Kumar, a volunteer at one of the night shelters in the vicinity of Kashmiri Gate. 

The group members also informed that the government departments, mainly Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB), have appealed to residents to donate blankets and mattresses to the homeless who have taken refuge in the night shelters to battle the harsh cold. 

The DUSIB alone has set up about 250 night shelters to cater to those battling the icy chill and hunger out in the open. The government has also urged self-help groups/NGOs to adopt a night shelter each and provide food to the homeless. Staff deputed at these shelters said DUSIB employees and other members, who run the shelters, have been conducting regular inspections. 

The agencies have also issued helplines for those wanting to donate blankets, mattresses and other materials of basic necessity. 

Dinesh Mahto, a labourer from Madhubani district in Bihar, while watching news on television at Delhi Gate shelter home said: “All the items of basic necessity including clothes, blankets, bed, tea, snacks are being provided here free of cost while we had to pay Rs 100 per day for the same facility earlier. Considering the fact that cost of living in the Capital is high, I must say that we are being helped to a 
great extent. Here, we must thank agencies for paying heed to our needs.” 

Naresh Sharma, who hails from Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh, earns his livelihood by working as a daily wager. He said that he came to the city six months ago in search of a job. He spent three nights on the pavement. One day, he came to know about a night shelter near Chandni Chowk area where he has been living comfortably. 

“I was surprised after being served food. I earn Rs 300 per day and with these facilities here I have started to save more and I even send some money back home. I am very thankful to the government for all this,” he said. 
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