You see a homeless person on the street, who might be of any age or gender. You want to help them. So what do you do?
First things first. Talk.
Find out if the vagrant is really homeless, and doesn’t have a shelter. The seemingly homeless person might be an alcoholic who is out for a stroll, or might just decide that it’s a good prank to play for a while! If you find that the homeless person really does not have a home, then you need to begin to see how you can help.
What do you talk, and how do you find out?
Just slip into a conversation, ask them about their background, what they do through the day. Do they have any guardians or parents? Or just relatives or friends? Are they on their own? Do they know what they are upto with their lives? Or are they old men or women suffering from neurological issues, who got lost and wandered off their homes?
Many of the homeless vagrants might not even be able to tell you much – or anything, either. Most of them are just wandering about, literally lost due to Alzheimer’s, or neglect and exile by families. Such vagrants cannot confess anything – they might not even be aware of it.
So what do you do then?
If you do not get a stable anchor for the wanderer, you can call either the helpline numbers, local support or NGOs who can help you to identify homeless vagrants in the city.
What are the organisations?
Here are a few numbers for abandoned persons who might be elderly, mentally unstable persons or dying destitutes:
Home and Humanitarian Hospital: 9739544444
New Ark Mission: 9900120100:
Navachetana: 080-26786409 or 9448162661
World Shelter Organisation: 22238655 or 98452 13670
For abandoned, orphaned or runaway children:
Bharat Shishu Griha: 080-26634168
Bosco Mane: 080-22253392, 080-22424138
Smile Foundation: 080-41320797
Association for Promoting Social Action: 080-252322749
Aren’t there any government organisations that cater to the homeless?
No, there aren’t. But you can always call 100 and inform the police about the homeless. It helps, as there are generally missing person complaints lodged with the police in some cases.
How do you know that the private organisations or NGOs are safe?
Well, you don’t. So you need to check them out and explore their references, and then ensure that they go through the police. Or you could approach the police.
The police? Why on earth?
Because you need a certificate from the police to validate that the vagrant is indeed homeless, according to an article on Citizen Matters. Otherwise, there are so many rackets related to organ donations or beggar circles, that it has been found to be unsafe. Getting the police involved is important to guarantee official backing.
What happens next?
Once you put a call through to the NGO, it would send social workers to locate and identify whether people are homeless or not. If they do identify that the vagrant has not home, they would first visit the police, if you haven’t done so already, and get certificates to validate his homeless status.
How do the organisations transport the homeless?
The NGO that is involved in sheltering the shelterless sends pick-up-and-drop transport cars.
What kind of homeless people will be picked up?
Different organisations have different target groups. With New Ark ready to give shelter to “the dying destitutes”, only people who are counting their last hours get picked up. RVM Foundation picks up people to give them medical treatment at Humanitarian Hospital. Abhayashram caters to destitute women, deserted wives and runaway girls. Vatsalya has been set up for orphaned girls, or children of single parents. Bosco Mane is the home for orphaned children.
How many are picked up in a day?
A survey by the New Ark shows that there are almost 30,000 homeless people in Bangalore on an average day. Absolute statistics are not available, as there is no single agency handling it.
Do those who are lost on the streets jump with delight that they have been “rescued”?
Not really. Some of them do not want to be rounded up, unless they are really looking for a safe place, a bed and some time that they can spend in safety. Some of them are happier on the streets, where they are able to be “free”. Beggars and alcoholics sometimes do not want help. Child runaways from home are sometimes reluctant to get locked up in a home or shelter. While they cannot get forced into a home if they are really reluctant, they can at least be counselled to understand the importance of staying in a shelter home.