Every single day, India’s premier health Institute - All India Institute of Management and Sciences – AIIMS witnesses a hefty haste of people visiting from various parts of India for seeking the best possible treatment. A lot has been reported already about homeless people living outside AIIMS.

The Citizen focused on the homeless children suffering from cancer and their families who live in night shelters made available by the state government.

Ravi, a fourteen year old boy suffering from cancer has been living on the pavement for the past 2 months. He prefers to sleep in open as he finds the subway night shelter filthy, overcrowded and unhygienic. “We don’t even have enough toilets here, we have to wait till we get our chance and it’s exhausting.”

Another boy named, Rajat, a five year old boy hailing from Bihar has cancer in his right eye , and is being treated with chemotherapy. He frequently vomits after each session of chemotherapy, with no other option he is compelled to sleep at the same place where he vomits. As per health experts, after each chemotherapy session, these drugs may remain in the body for up to a week. The drugs are then released through urine, faeces and vomit and need to be washed right away.

Mohammad Alam whose daughter Busr, just three and a half years old who is suffering from tumor said, “This place is crammed with patients and their families, we don’t have enough money to rent a room and have no other option than to stay here on the streets.”

The parents of these children all said they needed more attention from the government.

Minister of State for Home Affairs, Hansraj Gangaram Ahir said in Lok Sabha that as many as 33 homeless people died in the first week of January alone with four deaths near the hospital premises only.

The Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board, DSUIB has set up 265 night shelters which include drug rehabilitation Centre, shelters for pregnant women only and general shelter for families only which are run through NGOs on contract basis and have a capacity to house 21134 people.

Out of the 265 night shelters, 83 are Reinforced Cement Concrete buildings, 115 are Porta Cabin, 66 tents and the only subway which has been converted into a night shelter is near the AIIMS metro station.