Even those fortunate enough to find a small place inside slums, the living conditions are deplorable at best
There are few things as sorely needed in Bangladesh as public housing, with the second phase of the Ashrayan Project most recently handing over 50,000 houses to homeless and landless families, providing much-needed shelter, safety, and perhaps most importantly, a place to call home for thousands more.
As the story of Shila Das proves -- a 55-year-old woman whose entire life was turned upside down when her father died and then she was abandoned by her husband -- there are thousands of people across the nation who have ended up losing everything, including their homes, due to a series of unfortunate events.
In this regard, it is truly heartening to see the government ensure that the most vulnerable members of society are taken care of, thereby widening the social safety net that would, in the long run, allow current and future generations to lift themselves out of poverty.
However, and rather unfortunately, considering the number of people who would benefit from public housing, the initiative will only cover a fraction of those in dire need of affordable places to live, especially in cities, where, for many, beds are made on the footpaths or inside slums.
Even those fortunate enough to find a small place inside these slums, the living conditions are deplorable at best, with disregard for safety and hygiene, in addition to territorial and gang-related threats of violence and an inability to social distance in the middle of a pandemic.
At the end of the day, a society that has any sense of humanity cannot allow even a single person to live without a home. While the government’s initiatives are more than commendable, we must aim to ensure that homelessness in our country becomes a thing of the past.