Understanding Metropolitan Homelessness

The project is funded by the Indian Council for Social Science Research and the Human Settlements Management Institute is being conducted jointly with the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. It  is informed by the continuing ineffectiveness of outreach to homeless persons in Delhi, despite regular intervention by the Hon’ble Supreme Court and social support schemes designed by the Government of India, such as the National Urban Livelihood Mission (NULM) Scheme of Urban Shelters, which aims to provide shelter and services for 900,000 homeless people in 790 cities.  One of the reasons for the failure to successfully identify and respond to their needs is the lack of  sufficient research to provide policymakers, local officials and implementing agencies with the understanding of the risk factors that homeless people face to chronic and death inducing poverty. This project seeks to partially address this lacuna. 

The aim of this project is to address these gaps through detailed fieldwork and ethnography, focusing on three questions (a) entry into homelessness, (b) enhanced vulnerabilities experienced during homelessness – in particular relating to work, physical and mental health and violence – and  (c) exit from homelessness, to document sustainable pathways that lead out of this situation. In addition, it will also undertake an analysis of laws and legal interventions relating to homelessness and the performance of schemes such as the National Urban Livelihood Mission (NULM) Scheme of Urban Shelters, with a focus on Delhi.