Night shelter only from December 1, NGO also points to low awareness

NOIDA: As has set in, homeless people in the city have little choice but to sleep on pavements or under different metro stations.
Homeless people can be seen sleeping in the open in various parts of Noida, including sectors 15 and 16 and Atta Peer Chowk, at . The Noida Authority plans to open a 60-bed temporary in Noida Stadium in Sector 21A but that will only be from 1. NGOs also pointed out that even after the facility opened, few would be aware of it.

Homeless people said while they are already exposed to high air pollution levels as they spend all their days in the open, the winter adds to their misery.

“I earn a meagre amount and can’t afford to take a room on rent. It becomes very difficult to bear the chilly weather in winter. Every year, I am forced to spend my nights under the open sky. I don’t know about any in Noida,” said Mukesh Kumar, a rickshaw-puller.

Another person, a daily wager, said that the winter is getting severe but he has no warm clothes and no place to take shelter from the cold. “I had come from Bihar six months ago in search of a job. I have been involved in odd works at various construction sites all these months. I don’t have enough money to stay here. I am planning to return home in a few days,” he said.

“The structure of the night shelter is almost complete with basic facilities. People will get blankets, drinking water and facilities for bonfire. There are also some toilets on the premises for their use. The shelter home facility will be available from December 1 to February 28,” said Rajesh Kumar Singh, officer on special duty, Noida Authority.

“The night shelter can accommodate around 60 persons at a time. The Authority will monitor the shelter home and ensure its maintenance,” he added.

Mala Bhandari, founder of Social and Development Research and Action Group (SADRAG), an , said temporary shelter homes are erected every year in the stadium.

“These facilities are not availed of properly as many homeless people have no information. The Authority should involve NGOs to reach out to the people for whom these homes are meant. The NGOs can also arrange woollen clothes, blankets and other resources for them,” she said.

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