A five-day campaign to create awareness of the problems faced by homeless people in the city commenced on Saturday. Students from 26 colleges in the city participated in the programme being organised by ActionAid India. Theme of the campaign on the first day was ‘Identity at Loss.' Executive Director of ActionAid India, Sandeep Chachra said that Chennai Corporation had to construct more shelters for the homeless.

“The homeless youth may face challenges in the development of their personality. We have to contribute towards solving the problems faced by such youth,” said entrepreneur E. Sarath Babu.

M. Sumathi, a student participant, said that the government has to give more importance to initiatives that improve the condition of the homeless.

“Dissemination of information on the homeless has to be effective,” said Laksh Fomra, another student.

“Chennai has a unique feature where 78 per cent of the homeless are living as families,” said Vanessa Peter of ActionAid.

Over 22 per cent are single individuals, including women, beggars, street children and mentally ill. The recent study conducted by the Chennai Corporation also endorses that majority of the homeless are residing as families. ActionAid survey in 2010 reveals that 38 per cent of the families do not have ration cards. This figure was 69 per cent in 2003, she added.