CORPORATION OF CHENNAI PUBLIC HEALTH DEPARTMENT INTRODUCTION The largest majority of Urban homeless people sleep on pavements and sidewalks, under...

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INTRODUCTION The largest majority of Urban homeless people sleep on pavements and sidewalks, under ledges of shops and homes, in market corridors, at bus-stands and railways stations, and outside places of worship, often in daily danger to their lives from rash and drunken drivers. In some cities, it was noticed that there seems to be a clear preference among single women to live in shrines, families on pavements and children in bus stands and railway stations. DEFINITION OF HOMELESS PERSONS Persons who do not have a house, either self-owned or rented, but instead i.

Live and sleep at pavements, parks, railway stations, bus stations and places of worship, outside shops and factories, at constructions sites, under bridges, in hume pipes and other places under the open sky or places unfit for human habitation;


Spend their nights/ or days at shelters, transit homes, short stay homes, beggars’ homes and children’s’ homes;


Live in temporary structures without walls under plastic sheets or thatch roofs on pavements, parks, nallah beds and other common spaces.

Within this group there are multiple degrees of vulnerability, for instance single women, infirm and old, disabled, and persons who have special needs such as floating migrant populations unable to find labour or food, those involved in substance abuse and patients of debilitating diseases. CHENNAI CORPORATION’s INTERVENTION: The Corporation of Chennai is a pioneer in the Shelter for Homeless programme as it started the first Shelter for homeless in the year 1992 before the Hon’ Supreme Court directions to all States. Later the Public Health Department conducted an initial process in May 2010. The entire Public health Department geared itself to rehabilitate the homeless and the mentally ill living across Chennai residing in the streets. About 727 homeless were rescued from the streets, brought to the Communicable Diseases Hospital and treated for their ailments. They were provided with nutritious food and shelter. In consultation with the Psychiatrists they were referred either to the Institute of Mental Health for further treatment after obtaining a Magistrate’s order, about 167 persons were reunited with their families across the state or others rehabilitated to other Shelter homes. As per the directions of Supreme Court the Corporation of Chennai initiated steps to provide services to urban homeless. The Corporation Chennai started with 15 shelters in the year 2010, later the Corporation of Chennai has expanded the services to the urban homeless by proposing 15 more shelters by allocating Rs. 6 crore for the year 2013-14 for the services to urban homeless. According to the guidelines one shelter needs to be established per one lakh population. As we already have 28 shelters it is planned to start 40 more shelters in this financial year 2014 –

2015. These centers are being run by the Non Governmental Organization with financial support from Corporation. Type of Shelters in Chennai •



Men and Women

Women and Children

Care and Protection centers for Children

Elderly Men and Women


Men and Women with Psycho social disabilities

Mentally Ill

Trans Genders

Services Provided at the Shelters Various services are being provided at the shelter for urban homeless. Shelters function as a space for convergence and provisions for various entitlements of social security, food, education for all the children in the shelter, and livelihood and housing schemes of the government. The following services are being provided to the residents at the shelters: 1. Birth Certificate/ age proof 2. Old age, widows, and disability pensions 3. BPL identification/ PDS ration cards / Electoral cards 4. Bank or post office accounts 5. Access to Anganwadi services /Admission to government schools 6. Linkage with Tamil Nadu Urban Livelihood Mission (TNULM)/National Urban Livelihood Mission (NULM) 7. Linkage to National Urban Health Mission(NUHM) 8. Admission to all public hospitals with free medicines and treatment 9. Linkage to Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY) 10. Free legal aid Status of the Shelter for Homeless Intervention: 

No of Shelters Functioning: 28

No of NGO’s under Chennai Corporation: 21

No of Corporation Buildings: 20 Shelters

No of Private Buildings: 8 Shelters

Details of the Beneficiaries: 

No of Beneficiaries benefited: 1410

No of Beneficiaries in the Shelters at present: 1077

No of Livelihood measures for the residents: 62 jobs

No of Social Entitlements: Old age Pension- 63, Voter s ID- 23, School Admissions: 387

No of resident’s reintegrated/Family Reunion: 232 residents

Housing facilities made available: 6 families

Implemented the Standard Operating Procedure for the Shelter for Homeless intervention

Progress of the Shelter for Homeless


1010 1077 1065 995 1006 950

1000 800



310 351

400 200




No of Residents

Case Studies from the Shelters: 

Rehabilitation by providing Livelihood Opportunities

• • • • •

R.Shiva, Age 21 found at Wimco Railway Station platform , sleeping in the night Occupation – Ragpicker Medical checkup done Behavioral Change process started Now got a work for him in Workshop

Reintegration of wandering Mentally Ill with families:

R e in t eg r a ti o n w i th F am il y

The “Shelter for Homeless Initiative” seeks to ensure that the urban homeless in the cities are identified and entitled to the various food, education, health, employment, social security and shelter/housing schemes.