Learn About Homelessness
Have you ever asked yourself why Mumbai, the city of dreams, has such an immense and visible population out on the streets? Have you found answers for these in the depth of your prejudices that accompany your privileged upbringing? If yes, you need to learn about homelessness.
Mumbai being the economic capital attracts the largest number of migrants into the Mumbai urban agglomeration. According to the Census of India 2001, 2.49 million people have migrated in the city during 1991-2001. The biggest chunk (37.65%) of these migrated for work/employment reasons. Not surprisingly migrant people who are employed at low end jobs are unable to pay for the whopping rents and end up as the homeless in the city.
The reasons for becoming and staying homeless are myriad. People are stuck in the vicious cycle of price rise, illiteracy and unemployment. As prices keep rising they cannot match them with equivalent wages due to low levels of education and unavailability of well-paying jobs. In such a situation a person is forced out of their homes, and has no option but to sleep on the streets. This applies to people within the same city and also those who migrate from villages in search of work. In the case of individual runaways and those that have been thrown out by their families, it is this same inflation-illiteracy-unemployment nexus that prevents them from being able to afford even a simple roof over their heads.
Largest numbers of the homeless citizens are in the age group of 15 to 35 years, which is a working age group. It breaks the myth that homeless citizens are beggars and do nothing. 60% of the homeless are illiterate and have no opportunities to build on their skill sets. This restricts the possibility of their being employed in higher paying jobs.
Migration of this work force is fuelled by the lack of employment opportunities in the hinterland & continuous demand of cheap labour in the city economy. Their earnings are not sufficient to afford whopping rent in the city.
Therefore, the prime requirement for them is 24 hours shelters with other basic facilities like sanitation, lockers, and health facilities and so on. 30% of the total homeless population is women, whose requirements are different in terms of the privacy and health care. There is a need for separate shelters for the homeless women & children.