Odisha’s first all-women shelter home inaugurated in Bhubaneswar

Bhubaneswar: Aiming to cater to the needs of homeless women forced to live under open sky, the State government on Thursday opened an all-women Shelter for Urban Homeless (SUH) in Bhubaneswar.

Bhubaneswar Mayor Ananta Narayan Jena inaugurated the first such all-women shelter home dedicated for the urban homeless in the State at Niladri Vihar area of the capital city.

The 100-bedded shelter home has all facilities to cater for the needs of homeless women.

City Mayor Jena said, “The shelter home is presently holding 50 inmates and will be subsequently upgraded to help more women. With all facilities, homeless women are forced live out in the open be it at railway station, bus stands or even footpaths can easily stay here. There will be women coordinators and security personnel to ensure security and safety of the inmates.”

Abharani Choudhury, secretary of the Odisha Patita Udhar Samiti said the SUH is the first such shelter home dedicated entirely for women.

“Our main target is to bring more women to the shelter home, rehabilitate and help them get into the mainstream of the society, said Choudhury.

Sailabala, an inmate of the shelter home said that her husband died of cancer and her elder daughter also passed away at the age of 22.

“I also have a younger daughter who I had hoped to take care of me but she ditched me after taking away all the savings I had made for the family, said Sailabala.

Not only Sailabala, several others some of who are forced to live alone are staying in the shelter home. While a few have lost their husbands, some others have been abandoned by their children while many have lost their entire family.

“My husband has been in jail since years and I have to look after my two daughters so I am working here in Bhubaneswar and residing with my kids,” another inmate named Sonia said.

It may be noted that at present Bhubaneswar has seven shelter homes with most of them suffering from mismanagement. Sources said that while poor and homeless are depending on other places to reside, dozens of beds are reportedly lying vacant in the shelter homes.