Koshish is a TISS Field Action Project initiated in August 2006 with the primary objective of repealing the draconian beggary prevention law, which fails to recognise the circumstances that force people towards destitution and criminalises poverty. Koshish acknowledges the historical and contextual realities like resistance and exclusion faced by de-notified communities, transgender community, persons with mental illness, those affected by leprosy, etc. It aims to humanise existing institutions under the beggary prevention law and work towards the rehabilitation of custodialised populations living in beggars’ homes. It also works towards creation of policies and programmes for homeless populations and those who live at the margins of society in urban areas. Koshish operates in Delhi, Bihar and Maharashtra.
Koshish has immediately responded, even prior to the lockdown, to the severe crisis created for the homeless by the Covid-19 pandemic, due to loss of livelihood, difficulty in complying with the lockdown norms due to lack of shelter, absence of ration cards and other difficulties. Koshish has also been responding to the needs of its clients in institutional settings. Some interventions provide immediate relief to the affected groups while some aim at long term systemic response through advocacy. A brief summary follows. For more details, please refer to this note.
The restriction of movement has been a huge challenge, impacting our ability to reach out. Difficulty in procuring medicines, especially for psychiatric treatment has been another major challenge. Absence of shelters and ambiguity around relief response from the state caused chaos and apprehensions amongst homeless. Police action against homeless groups added to the pressure.
All relief related interventions to continue at least for two months. We will also continue with our intervention with custodial/ institutional populations.
Professional assistance will be introduced in the community to mitigate the psycho-social effects on homeless population, especially on children.
The follow up on former clients shall continue.
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