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The extent of the homeless problem in India vary with no recent accurate figures. What is clear, however, is that homelessness in India is a serious problem. Estimations are that there are in the region of 78 million homeless people in the country, including 11 million street children – the highest number of any country in the world.

Homelessness is defined by the government as living on the open road, under bridges, stairways, railway platforms, in pipes and in temples. India’s large cities have become the homeless capitals of the country; with millions of people living in slums or tenements.

India’s street children, almost half of whom are between the ages of eight and 14, suffer malnutrition, poverty, lack access to education and are frequently the victims of child labour. The majority are illiterate.

While homelessness in rural areas has declined in recent years, the problem has grown proportionally in urban areas as rapid urbanisation has taken place as people flock towards cities and towns in search of sustainable employment.

An acute housing shortage in India’s urban centres coupled with a high number of people living below the global poverty line means the problem is unlikely to be addressed in the short term.

To address the growing concern about India’s homeless situation, Prime Minister Modi promised that by 2022 every Indian person would have a home. Early indications are that this target will not be met.

The state has been criticised for not identifying and addressing the structural causes of homelessness, for not seeing to the needs of the homeless and diverting funds that have been allocated to India’s homeless population. In 2017, an order was issued by the Supreme Court for an audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General to ensure these funds are used correctly. That said, addressing the issue is no easy task.

There are a number of factors that contribute to the plight of India’s homeless. These include lack of affordable housing; changes in the industrial economy leading to unemployment; inadequate income; the release of patients with mental disorders without any support; physical and mental disability; substance abuse and domestic violence.

Cities such as New Delhi, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh all have high proportions of homelessness.



These aren’t just words, neatly packed to sound helpful “in theory”; these are the very real concepts on which the global movement of positive change is built.
It’s with these ideas that The Philanthropic Collection home to The CEO SleepOut is turning old world philanthropy on its head;
getting business leaders to sleep on the streets to raise funds and gain empathy for the homeless in The CEO SleepOut Event;
and sparking conversations that truly lead to worldwide action.

By Ali Gregg