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Homeless shelters in urban India: life sans dignity

Piyali Ghosh (Indian Institute of Management Ranchi, Ranchi, India)
Geetika Goel (Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology, Allahabad, India)
Mohit Ojha (Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology, Allahabad, India)

International Journal of Housing Markets and Analysis

ISSN: 1753-8270

Article publication date: 25 May 2018

Issue publication date: 21 January 2020




Government of India has been addressing the issue of homelessness through shelters in urban areas, mandated with provision of basic amenities including drinking water and washrooms. This research paper aims to investigate into the condition of such homeless shelters in terms of importance of and satisfaction from mandatory amenities therein as perceived by users, i.e. urban homeless poor.


Data from a survey spanning a sample of 401 shelter inmates have been used to construct a service quality performance matrix (SQPM) to analyse the importance of amenities and satisfaction of shelter inmates out of these amenities. A priority order of these amenities for improvement has been drawn thereafter with a customer satisfaction index (CSI).


The results of SQPM show ten items registering high importance-low satisfaction. Amenities such as utensils for cooking and psycho-social counselling are important but not available. Priority-wise amenities that need to be improved are: psycho-social counselling, facility of referral and transport, utensils for cooking, childcare facilities, waste management, adequate fire safety measures, recreation space, pest and mosquito control, first aid and kitchen/cooking space and equipment needed for cooking.

Practical implications

A total of 10 amenities have been ranked in order of priority, for which, the government needs to define its improvement action plans for delivering maximum satisfaction to inmates of shelters out of their stay.


The findings reveal that urban homeless staying in shelters are being deprived of many of the amenities earmarked as mandatory. Existing studies on shelters in India are usually descriptive, providing a summary of available amenities therein. This study is the first to contribute to literature on housing by applying SQPM and CSI on amenities available at homeless shelters.



Ghosh, P., Goel, G. and Ojha, M. (2019), "Homeless shelters in urban India: life sans dignity", International Journal of Housing Markets and Analysis, Vol. 13 No. 1, pp. 4-18.



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