Mohammad Ali (62) has finally found a safe and secure place to retire at night. He says he has been homeless for 20 years as his meagre earning as a worker at a cycle shop is not enough for having a shelter of his own.

“I have been identified by the Chennai Corporation as a beneficiary of the free night shelter scheme. I do not have to worry any longer about answering the queries raised by police when I sleep on the pavement at night,” says Mr.Ali.

Inaugurating the first such shelter for homeless persons set up by the civic body at Pulianthope on Thursday, Mayor M.Subramanian said, “the Corporation has identified 11,299 persons who are staying on the street at night. The civic body is ready to accommodate them if they show willingness to stay in such night shelters. Night shelters will be constructed in all 10 zones.”

“The civic body will issue identity cards to the inmates of the night shelters. They are free to work during day and return to the shelter at night,” he said. The inmates will be taken care of if they have health conditions that require medical attention, he added.

E.Vasudevan, another inmate, said that he was employed in a fish market. “I have no one to take care of me. The officials found me sleeping in the Thiru.Vi.Ka.Nagar bus stand and told me about the night shelter before bringing me here,” he added.

Corporation Commissioner D.Karthikeyan said that the civic body was studying the condition of homeless people in the city and would devise more strategies to help them. Deputy Commissioner (Education) M.Balaji was present.

More In: Chennai