NGOs ask homeless for ID cards, say this is to keep thieves away from shelters

Thieves masquerading as homeless are entering the Delhi government’s makeshift night shelters and walking away with blankets. The problem has now forced some NGOs operating the shelters to seek identity proofs of people coming there to spend the night.

A case in point are the buses turned Rain Baseras for the destitutes situated near All India Institute of Medical Sciences. When 26-year-old Saima approached a bus-cum-night shelter, she was sent back by the caretaker as she could not produce an identity proof. She was not alone as she had come to AIIMS for her five-year-old child. “I was not given any help. I lost my luggage at the railway station so I had no identification proof,” she said. “The caretaker said even if you got to a rundown hotel, you would have to show some kind of identity proof.”

She asked for a blanket but it fell on deaf ears. “I pleaded to him that I had a baby but he refused to give me a blanket,” she said.

NGO Prerna, which runs the bus shelters told Deccan Herald to save those sleeping inside the bus they have to ask for identity proof. “Around three or four of our blankets have got stolen in the past couple of days,” said Palvinder Singh, president of Prerna, adding, “There are women sleeping inside, we took safety measures.” 

On being asked what if some homeless do not have any identity proof, he said, “These days, almost all the destitutes have some kind of identity proof. Sometimes, we even allow them by seeing the OPD slips of the AIIMS.”

According to the NGO, about 110 people sleep in the four buses at the AIIMS and about 25 sleep in one bus. When Deccan Herald visited the site around 11 pm, there were some 75 to 80 people sleeping in the open.

According to Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board, there are 174 night shelters in the city and all are in working condition. These shelters have a capacity to accommodate 14,000 people. The NGOs said there are about 1.5 lakh homeless in the Capital.

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