ISLAMABAD-Just after sunset around a dozen labourers were standing outside the Panagah, or shelter home, a free lodging and food facility launched by Prime Minister Imran Khan, in Chak Shehzad.

Gul Nawaz, one of the labourers, said the shelter home is a big blessing for the poor working class, especially those who do not have a proper place to stay and find it very hard to make ends meet due to rising utility prices. Others standing around him nodded their heads in agreement and said more shelter homes should be built for the needy.

The idea of shelter homes for poor and needy by Prime Minister Imran Khan appears to be successful and is becoming eminent among the labour class of Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

So far, this project is functioning in Islamabad, Punjab, and Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa.

In Islamabad, one shelter home is located on the green-belt dividing the G-9 service road and 9th Avenue. The area is highly populated with labour class and the shelter home remains full almost every night. Most of the people who come for shelter in these homes are labourers. The officials of Islamabad had recently announced the allocation of Rs20 million for the maintenance of shelter homes of Islamabad.

“This shelter home project by Khan Sahab is a blessing for people like us. This was never done by any government before. This home provides us food and shelter. We people are very thankful,” said Hamid Khan, a labourer who works from dawn to dusk every day near the 9th Avenue. He usually spends night at the nearest shelter home for past few weeks. According to him, his spending has decreased and savings have increased as the cost of travelling and food is spared.

Talking with The Nation, Hassan Raza, supervisor of G-9 shelter home said, “There are 104 beds in this shelter home and it remains full every day.” When asked about the maintenance or any issue, the supervisor replied that the guests were usually seen happy with the environment and had no complaints.

The supervisor further elaborated that most of the visitors or guests were labourers working around the area. He explained that only more washrooms were needed as there were only two for over 100 people.

This correspondent further reached out to the Chak Shehzad branch of shelter homes and observed that the shelter homes not only provide shelter to the needy but also a two-time meal for the people.

The branch of Chak Shehzad also provides multiple activities for the night guests such as television and lounge, roof-top sitting area, dining room, and a nice garden for a little walk.

The supervisor of this branch, Ahmad Faraz, said that not only the poor or needy gets happy by this service, but the management staff is also left satisfied and relieved. All shelter homes are full every night and there is still a huge number of poor and needy who require shelter and food.

However, as said by the labourer, the government needs to carry this initiative further to help more and more people who are still spending nights at slums and sidewalks.

There are concerns that there is a shortage of funds for the running of these shelters and money is not being allocated for maintenance and upkeep. Talking exclusively with The Nation, Deputy Commissioner Islamabad Hamza Shafqaat stated that funds were raised for the maintenance of these shelter homes. He briefed that the issues like lack of security and maintenance would be resolved with the help of these funds.

He further revealed that the food was provided by the NGO Sehlani Welfare Trust in all the shelter homes of Islamabad. The Sehlani NGO and the government are working together in this project according to DC Islamabad.