DUSIB to set up more overnight shelters to close the gap | Delhi News

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New Delhi: This is the second winter in a row where the homeless population of the national capital has not only to face the biting cold of Delhi but also the specter of Covid-19. While the Delhi government already operates around 200 temporary shelters for the homeless, it is now increasing their number by 25%, keeping in mind the growing threat from the highly transmissible Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus.
The Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB), which manages these shelters, set up around 70 to 75 temporary shelters each winter, but the number was increased to more than 200 last year to ensure social distancing after the pandemic outbreak . “This time, we have already installed 200 temporary shelters and a total of 250 will now be installed,” Bipin Rai, member of the board of directors of DUSIB, told TOI.
“We have issued instructions to maintain social distancing in shelters and also the disinfection of those who come there. We offer breakfast, lunch and dinner, ”said Rai.
He said the focus was also on vaccinating the homeless population. “We have two separate vaccination centers for our temporary shelters themselves,” Rai said.
The number of temporary shelters was increased last year to ensure social distancing of at least six feet. As shelters accommodate more than 10,000 people each winter, the numbers have had to rise to widen the gap.
DUSIB launches a winter action plan for the homeless starting November 15 of each year, before the harsh winter sets in in the city. Pagoda tents are set up every winter as temporary fireproof and waterproof shelters. These tents also have beds and mattresses and are set up in places that see a high concentration of the homeless population. The provision of three meals a day instead of two was also launched last year.
DUSIB has rescue teams, which bring many homeless people to shelters. A DUSIB helpline also remains operational 24/7 during the winter season. Those who want to help can download the Rain Basera mobile app from the Google Play Store, where they can upload photos of any area with homeless people. Officials said the homeless would then be rescued by DUSIB teams.
The Delhi government is also deploying medical teams to carry out health checks for the homeless. The health department is carrying out regular inspections of shelters and expanding health facilities, a government official said.
While DUSIB manages the shelters, the Delhi Government’s Urban Development Department coordinates with various other departments, including the Delhi Jal Board, Delhi Police, and the Departments of Revenue, Public Works, Electricity and health, to provide various facilities in the shelters.
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