Ten more homeless die of cold in capital

Ten more homeless  die of cold in capital

NGOs ‘misuse’ funds meant for shelters

Ten more homeless have succumbed to cold since February 1 in north Delhi’s Kashmere Gate area. Lack of funds, which hinders the process of setting up and running night shelter for destitutes, also remains the major cause for apathy towards them.

But the blame cannot be put solely on the city government for giving only Rs 35,000 to an NGO to run a night shelter comprising three caretakers and a sanitary worker. Some of these ‘non-profit’ organisations do not even deliver this amount to their staff, instead they keep a cut from their employees’ income.

In October 2013, Pravesh joined a Homeless Resource Centre (HRC) run by an NGO, DAV Educational and Welfare Society. HRCs provide transport facilities to homeless persons.“According to the city government, I should have been paid Rs 8,200 per month. But the NGO asked me to give them a 20 per cent cut from my salary,” Pravesh said. “I didn’t like it and I left the job within a month. The centre coordinator, livelihood coordinator and field officer followed suit,” he added.

Pravesh complained to the apex ‘Mother NGO for Homeless’, which heads HRCs across the city. “They looked into the matter and asked the NGO to give me the salary for the number of days I worked without any cut,” he added.

Some NGOs do not employ three caretakers to save money. “There are many shelter homes where there are only one caretaker and the poor guy is made to work for over 12 hours,” said Sunil Kumar Aledia, member of Centre for Holistic Development.

“Such NGOs must get their act together if they want to save destitutes,” he added.The city government body that looks after night shelters – Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) – allocated Rs 297 per day to a caretaker for working eight hours a day.

Social workers said if these organisations have a tie up with caterers, homeless people can be provided some food. “In every function or a party some food is left. If these organisations have a network with such caterers then the leftover food can be distributed to destitutes,” said Sunil Kumar Aledia.

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