The Chennai Corporation has identified 2,586 homeless families in Chennai district. The total number of homeless persons in the district is 11,116.
According to a new survey to be submitted to the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board by the Chennai Corporation, the largest number of homeless people in the city is on NSC Bose Road. As many as 1,864 families live in the 29 streets around NSC Bose Road.
The expanded city, covering districts of Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram in addition to Chennai district, has an estimated 15,000 homeless persons. Some labourers who cannot afford to pay rent have also begun living on the footpaths in the city.
“Until three months ago, I lived in rented accommodation in Kallarai near Central, paying a monthly rent of Rs. 3,000. When I found it difficult to continue paying rent, I moved out and started living on the streets,” said Sasikala who sleeps on Mint Street with her husband and their five children.
She earns Rs. 100 a day making flower garlands. Her husband is a daily wage labourer. “I am ready to live wherever the government allots us a house,” she said.
Most of the homeless residents have voter IDs but no ration cards. Pushpa Saravanan said her family was shifted to civic body-run schools during the rains. She is one among the hundreds of homeless women who take shelter outside shops at night. “I do not enjoy the benefits of the government’s welfare schemes,” said Pushpa.
“We have apportioned the space on the pavement. Every night, we wait for the shops to shut before retiring for the night on the pavement outside,” said Sakunthala, a 53-year-old woman.
Some of them have recently started living in rented houses in suburban areas such as Vanagaram. But unable to pay rent, they will return to the pavements after a few months, said Sakunthala.