P. Eamiti (35) had left home more than 15 years ago due to family problems. Since then she has been living on the pavement beside the Hanuman temple at Padmarao Nagar. She refuses to go back home now, or even to a shelter house as she feels she will lose her independence.

While NGOs often blame the GHMC for failing to establish sufficient shelters in the city, those like Eamiti simply don’t want to shift.

“What will I do there? I am not interested in sharing space with others. Here on the footpath, I have my own spot, and I get enough money everyday to fill my stomach,” she said.

Kumar Subramanyam (45) locked up his house at Warisguda for good when his wife committed suicide six years ago. He is now Eamiti’s neighbour on the pavement beside the same temple.

“People say my house is haunted. I didn’t see the point in living anymore after my wife died, so I left the house and beg for a living now,” he said.

People like Eamiti and Subramanyam often return to the streets even if they are taken in at shelters, says Indira, project supervisor at Aman Vedika, which runs two of GHMC’s night shelters.

“They can’t live with others. They find it hard to live with a set of rules,” she pointed out.

In the NGO-run shelters, inmates themselves agree upon a set of house rules to make sure everything is in order.

“We counsel inmates on hygiene and cleanliness like bathing, eating on time and working to earn a living,” Ms. Indira said.

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