Homeless in Rain

Homeless during extreme Raining

Most Indians look forward to the rainy season because it means the return of productive crops and the improvement of their economic situation. However, for one of India’s most marginalised communities—the homeless—the monsoon brings a whole new set of challenges. There are around 1.8 million homeless persons in India, making homelessness a major issue in its own right. A huge portion of the homeless population is at risk for developing health problems or perhaps dying if they are forced to spend months in substandard housing without shelter. The health risks posed by homelessness in India’s monsoon season make it an urgent need to resolve.

Rain for homeless population

Rainy season worsens India’s homelessness. In August 2018, floods left 54,000 homeless, according to the Times of India. Poor weather increases the homeless population.

During monsoon season, homelessness worsens. Summer shelters shut, leaving many homeless to suffer dangerous temperatures. Even if homeless persons found refuge during this season, they would still need to spend a lot of time on the streets to eat and survive.

Julia Ward Haugh, a criminology and criminal justice professor at Bangor University who has investigated homelessness in India, said, “Even if some shelter is obtained, sustenance must be on the streets, seeking temporary labour (e.g. recycling materials) or asking for charity.” “The health repercussions might be serious, particularly for vulnerable individuals and children,” she said.

Because it’s hard for the government to track the homeless, data on this issue is sparse. It’s hard to trace their deaths. One research analysed homeless and unclaimed deaths in North India from 2008 to 2012. The research indicated that most fatalities happened during the rainy season.

Need of homeless population during monsoon

What can we do for homeless people in monsoon?

Here are some random acts of kindness that will bring a little smile to their face:

1. Carry plastics bags with you and give it to people who are caught unaware in the rain. Nowadays, everyone carries a cell phone and would really appreciate if they could use a cover to protect their phone and wallet/purse from the fury of the season.

2. Carry packets of biscuits or dry snacks in your car. When stuck in a traffic jam, do give them to the roadside vendors who knock on your window and also to the traffic police. Remember, they are at this junction even when it is pouring and are quite tired and hungry.

3. Gift your help and your building watchman umbrellas and raincoats. If you want to gift raincoats to other deserving people, like those who are homeless or too poor to afford them, do connect with us and we will gladly do it on your behalf (do watch this space for our August event).

4. If you see someone stuck at a station or on the highway repeatedly shaking their cell phones (we still have the Indian legacy of banging our remotes against our hands to make them work!), then offer to make a call on their behalf and pass a message to their family about their whereabouts.

5. The sea brings back all the garbage that we dump into it mindlessly, and deposits it back to our shores. Be part of your local beach clean-up drive and help.

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