The Kerala government’s Mission LIFE (livelihood inclusion and financial empowerment) that aims to provide shelter and security to the homeless has been reaping some success. Under the initiative, the state will be providing shelter to 4.3 lakh families that are without a home. The first phase of this project has been completed—as per The Indian Express (IE), the newly built housing complex in Adimali contains 271 units in a total of seven floors. The complex offers decent living space to the homeless and has amenities that are now common in housing complexes elsewhere in the country, including waste management facilities and power back-up. Additionally, the complex also houses a health sub-centre and anganwadi.
The project will be implemented in coordination between the departments of local self-government and social welfare—Adimali complex, IE reports, cost Rs 26 crore. The Kerala government estimates that if each of the 4.3 lakh target families were to be provided with independent housing, the total land requirement would have been 6,000 acres, which would have made the project unsustainably expensive and impossible to follow through with because of the paucity of land; thus, the decision to opt for apartment complexes and housing clusters that reduce the land requirement. The project website also lists the provision of social security and skill development schemes, making each recipient independent and empowering them to change and work for their own future. In addition, the construction of houses for that section of society which is supposed to receive the majority of government-provided aid enables officials to track the receipt of such benefits as the beneficiaries are not constantly on the move or are scattered. The fact is that taking the homeless off the streets has many gains for healthcare, delivery of government services, law and order, etc. Other states would do well to take a leaf from Kerala’s book.