Over 3000 people are homeless in Kerala, while almost 12 lakh houses lie vacant

Although the number of homeless people is small compared to the national average, activists say it would be revolutionary to allot some of the vacant houses to the homeless.
Over 3000 people are homeless in Kerala, while almost 12 lakh houses lie vacant
Over 3000 people are homeless in Kerala, while almost 12 lakh houses lie vacant
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Kerala is far ahead of the national average on multiple development indices, and providing homes and electricity for all has been one of the government’s top priorities. But a recent survey by Kudumbashree Community Development Societies (CDS) has found that not everyone in the state has a roof over their heads. In fact, in the study to identify street dwellers in all 93 urban cities of Kerala, it was found that there were 3195 homeless people in the state.

While compared to the rest of the country, the numbers are quite low - there are 1.77 million homeless people in India according to the 2011 census - the numbers are still a concern for the government.

Especially because, as another report has found, there are almost 12 lakh vacant houses in the state - many of them with as many as 6 bedrooms.

The Kerala Sasthra Sahithya Parishad (KSSP) released a report on October 3, titled, ‘Micha Veedukalum Kerala Paristhithiyum’ (Extra houses and Kerala’s environment). The report says that there are 11,89,144 vacant houses in Kerala.

“We’ve taken this data from the 2011 census, so now the number will be more,” TK Meera Bhai, general secretary of KSSP told The News Minute.

“They are vacant may be because one family has two or more houses, or the people who own the houses are living abroad,” she added.

Among the vacant houses 5,85,998 houses are in rural areas, and 6,03,146 houses are in urban areas.

The report also points that 57,272 houses which are vacant in Kerala have more than six rooms. There are 73,975 vacant houses which have five rooms, while 1,96,058 vacant house have four rooms.

While KSSP is mainly worried about the environmental impact of too much building in the state, they have also raised the demand that extra houses should to distributed to those who are homeless.

“If all the extra houses are distributed to the people don’t have a house it would be a great revolutionary policy after land reformation movement,” says the report.

Here are some of the findings from the survey by Kudumbashree:

The report from Kudumbashree says that out of these 3195 homeless people, 1397 are migrants.

Of all the homeless people, 2625 are cis men, 564 are cis women and 6 are transgender persons, according to the survey.

Further, 1485 people were in the age group of 41 to 60, 853 people were in the age group of 61 to 80, and 44 people were above the age of 81. There were also 40 minors found to be living on the streets.

The survey also found that 2106 people were living on the street for over a year at the time of the survey.

A majority of the homeless - 1465 people - were working as daily wage labourers, while 241 of them were street vendors. There were also 679 beggars and 627 rag pickers.

The highest number of street dwellers in the state were reported in Ernakulam district (510) and second highest in Kozhikode (419). The lowest number was from Idukki (39) and the second lowest from Pathanamthitta (59).

In the urban areas, the highest number was in Kozhikode corporation (294) and Kochi corporation (273).

2265 people have no ID proofs. 2137 people sleep in the same location while others keep on changing their location to sleep at night. Among them, 145 people have a monthly income of more than Rs 10,000, while 1125 people earn less that Rs 1000 per month. 1527 people have cited that they don’t have a home as they go to places in search of livelihood, while 255 people are orphans.

Edited by Ragamalika Karthikeyan


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