Urban homeless families want homes in TN Slum Clearance Board tenements

Families in north Chennai have sent a petition to the Chennai Corporation, asking for homes, and stating that they have been subject to untold suffering due to the pandemic

October 10, 2020 02:23 pm | Updated 02:23 pm IST - CHENNAI

On the occasion of World Homeless Day on October 10, urban homeless families living in north Chennai have sent a petition to the Greater Chennai Corporation seeking permanent houses. They claimed they have been subjected to untold suffering during the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are more than 1,800 homeless families living in Royapuram, Parrys and Mannady for the past 60 years. "The pavements are our refuge, be it under the scorching sun or pouring rain. We do not have any safety, and our children find it hard to study. We have been constantly requesting the government to provide us with houses at the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board (TNSCB) tenements in Moolakothalam. But the TNSCB wants 10% contribution from our side -- we are ready to give it, but on an instalment basis," said A. Sarasa, one of the petitioners, who lives on Stringer Street.

Many urban homeless persons said that during the pandemic, their families suffered due to lack of food. “We did not have any work. So we had to rely on NGOs that donated food. Besides, we have to use public toilets and we are prone to contracting virus. Already a few pavement dwellers in Egmore have tested COVID-19 positive,” said Leelavathy, residing on Davidson Street.

Rania, another homeless person staying in Ratan Bazaar, said that apart from houses, they also need to be covered under the government insurance scheme. “Some of the residents do not have Aadhar cards and ration cards. Some have not got old age and widow pensions. The government should organise a camp for us,” she said.

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