Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic and related lockdown in India, HLRN has been assisting homeless persons and those living without adequate housing, including stranded migrant workers, in various ways. During the lockdown, we also undertook direct relief efforts, including facilitating the provision of shelter, food, and other essential commodities.
With the enforcement of the long nationwide lockdown and sealing of containment zones to prevent the spread of the virus, people living in homelessness and in inadequate settlements, especially those dependent on daily wages, lost their livelihoods. Even after easing of the lockdown restrictions, many people working in the informal sector are struggling for livelihood. As a result, hunger has been a major challenge for these marginalized communities who have become even more vulnerable. The lack of access to adequate and clean water, sanitation, soap, sanitizer, and masks also increases their vulnerability to the virus. Moreover, many migrant workers and homeless persons living on the streets were forced to move to emergency shelters, all of which were not necessarily adequate.
Through its team and partners' network, HLRN is closely monitoring the situation of marginalized communities, including their access to food, housing/shelter, healthcare, water, sanitation, soap, sanitizers, and masks as well as other issues affecting them. Particularly in Delhi, HLRN is documenting living conditions in permanent and emergency shelters as well as low-income settlements. We are also facilitating the provision of adequate shelter to homeless person living on the streets and to migrant workers stranded in the cities. Demands of affected communities are being regularly conveyed to the government and through our advocacy, we have been able to improve access to basic services, shelter, food, and other essential items for a large number of people living in destitution.
From 25 March to 31 July 2020, in collaboration with partners and voluntary organizations, HLRN helped facilitate the provision of food and other essential commodities to communities in need in Delhi, Bhubaneswar (in partnership with Centre for the Sustainable Use of Social and Natural Resources), Imphal (in partnership with Centre for Research and Advocacy Manipur), Chennai, and Madurai (in partnership with the Information and Resource Centre for Deprived Urban Communities). During this period, HLRN helped provide ration/cooked food to over 110,000 people.
From May to July 2020, we ran a community kitchen in Mori Gate, Delhi to provide free tea, breakfast, lunch, and dinner to homeless persons living in and around the area. Through this kitchen, we served 37,022 meals. In April and May 2020, we ran a community kitchen in Yamuna Khadar to provide free lunch and dinner to 1,500 families in need.
Special Page on COVID-19 and Human Rights
COVID-19 and Special Procedures
UN Secretary General's Report: COVID-19 and Human Rights
UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing | COVID-19 Guidance Notes:
UN Guidance Note: COVID-19 and Indigenous Peoples' Rights
UN Guidance Note: COVID-19 and the Human Rights of Migrants
UN Guidance Note: COVID-19 and Women's Human Rights
UN Policy Brief: The Impact of COVID-19 on Children