Bangalore archdiocese opens shelter home for street dwellers

By C V Joseph

Bengaluru, April 22, 2019: Archbishop Peter Machado of Bangalore has allowed a shelter home for the poor streets dwellers within the premises of his own residence.

Archbishop Emeritus Bernard Moras opened the home on April 21 in the presence of civil authorities, heads of institutions and organizations, NGOs, priests, nuns and special invitees.

Salesian Father Edward Thomas, the brain behind Dream India Network and foster homes for children in Karnataka, had always wanted a place for the homeless found in the streets of Bengaluru, capital of the southern Indian state.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, he recalled Archbishop Machado showing him a place within the compound of Archbishop’s House. The present requirement of shelter is for around 92,000 people in Bangalore alone.

According to the Supreme Court of India, there should be minimum 100 persons in a shelter home. He had discussed the matter with Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (Greater Bengaluru Municipal Corporation) officials.

The corporation and Human Rights activist Jagadish have helped in the new shelter home. Dream India Network and Impact India also joined.

The teams surveyed eight zones in the city in 24 days and found 4,000 people homeless in four zones. Archbishop Machado and Monsignor Jayanathan also went around the city to get a firsthand knowledge of the situation.

The archbishop chose 12 homeless people in the street for the Maundy Thursday washing of the feet ritual. Father Thomas divided the people into three categories – people with families, the second group of people are able to work and earn and the third category of people are really sick.

The Salesian priest also said arrangements are being made for a 20-bed hospital within the city and within St. Teresa’s Hospital for the poor and needy.

Archbishop Machado reminded the gathering that Jesus had no place even for his burial and urged them start similar types of homes in their own vicinity. The archbishop recalled his meeting with a person who lived on a city railway station and bus terminal for the past 30 years. His children were also born on the street, he added.

Deputy Commissioner Jagadish speaking on the occasion narrated the ordeal to select the place and decide how many shelters were needed. Finally they identified three major areas and got direction to proceed.

He encouraged churches, mosques and temples for providing for the need. However, he said the religious places should be kept as life jackets.

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