Delhi's "Sleep Mafia" control the nights of 100,000 homeless workers

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Have the same problem here in the U.S.
Just check with the Department of Housing and Urban Development for some figures.

So Delhi is Victorian England then?
Is that what I’m reading?

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I will never forget my first exposure to India, landing at Delhi airport in the middle of the night and driving through the ghost town where every block had dozens of people sleeping in the most uncomfortable positions imaginable, often on top of motorbikes or whatever possessions they had.

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Late stage capitalism.


Oh? Please let me know which American city has 100,000 homeless people sleeping on that city’s streets, and then please point out the people who are then renting sidewalk space (among other spaces) to that population.

Meh, my ass.


San Francisco has historically been one of the most homeless-friendly cities in the US, and as a result, has one of the largest homeless populations. The latest census seems to put the figure somewhere between 6000 and 7000. Homeless censuses systematically underestimate, so let’s more than double it to 15,000. Still a little short of 100,000.

Apparently, Los Angeles has a very large homeless population (unsurprising given the climate and the city’s massive population):

Still, less than 13,000. Let’s more than double to 30,000. Still short of 100,000. Even if we combine our probably exaggerated figures for SF and LA (two of the largest homeless populations in the US) we still have less than half of 100,000.

Do we have anything remotely comparable to the “sleep mafia”? No. Even here in Boston where it gets quite cold at night during winter months, no one gouges the homeless on blankets. In fact, the Pine Street Inn sends social workers around in vans to pass out blankets and other necessities, and also just to generally check up on the city’s homeless.

Could you please be more specific about how we have the “same problem” here in the US? That really doesn’t seem to be true.


Some more stuff. Boston’s most recent homeless census gave a figure of about 2400. As usual, I’m more than happy to more than double that to 5000.

The shelter capacity is supposedly around 1500. Obviously it would be better to have more shelter space all things considered, but there’s also clearly not the sort of failure to provide shelter space that there is in Delhi.

But I suspect that homelessness in the US is much more frequently caused by mental illness and substance abuse issues than in India. One of the articles I read on homelessness in Boston suggested that there’s been a large increase in homelessness among 18-24 year olds (something I noticed anecdotally as well – from my perspective it seems like a huge increase in youth homelessness) and the person who mentioned this conjectured that it was connected to the opiate abuse epidemic occurring all over the US.


Not surprised. Saddened, but not surprised.

Delhi is particularly bad in this regard - my city of Chennai had about 8000 homeless - mostly migrant workers and those who recently lost their homes. The number is probably a higher now after the floods of December though. And there are several living in slums, but who still at least have a roof over their heads that only leaks in some places…



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