Fighting Covid-19 crisis: Co-living firms open doors to health care staff

The company has so far rolled out 150 beds for doctors, nurses, and ward boys in these properties
Saurabh Chittora, who’s treating coronavirus disease (Covid-19) patients at a government medical college in Kota, Rajasthan, gets done with his afternoon shift by 5.30 pm. The medical practitioner then leaves for his new temporary home where he takes the first proper meal of the day, having skipped lunch.

“I am supervising the health of 134 Covid-19 patients and have a family with parents who are over 65 years of age. I don’t want to expose them to any health risk. Both my children are also below 5 years. So I have moved to a co-living space for now,” says Chittora, who hasn’t met his family for 10 days despite being in the same city.

Chittora is staying at one of the Hello World co-living spaces in Kota, which has given out two of its properties — one for health care professionals and another for migrants who have been stranded in the city because of the 21-day nationwide lockdown.

“We have opened five of our properties in Kota, Jaipur, and NCR for health care professionals, who are on the frontline serving Covid-19 patients, and people who are stranded because of the lockdown,” says Jitendra Jagadev, founder of Hello World, a co-living venture of Tiger Global-backed home rental network NestAway.

The company has so far rolled out 150 beds for doctors, nurses, and ward boys in these properties. In order to facilitate the health professionals’ food at any time during the day, the start-up has also provided 24x7 housekeeping. “In total, we will roll out 500 beds in the first phase during this month in cities including Mumbai and Bengaluru,” says Jagadev.

Hello World is also in talks with schools to convert those into temporary homes for migrant labourers. “We will run our services for free for up to three months… we will be looking at raising external funds,” says Jagadev.

Another co-living start-up Guesture has also been in talks with multi-specialty hospital Narayana Health to open up its vacant properties for health workers. However, the hospital chain has so far not sought a requirement for such a space.

“The construction workers that are stuck at sites during the lockdown are staying safe at the quarters provided by the firm. Shanders, the parent company of Guesture, is taking care of their other needs such as food and medical support,” says Sriram Chitturi, founder, Guesture.

The start-up has also tied up with Tech Mahindra to provide its facilities to employees who do not have any means to work from home. “We have cordoned off an entire property with 100 beds along with work desk, Wi-Fi connectivity, housekeeping, and food for those employees who did not have work-from-home facilities,” says Chitturi.

In a similar tie-up, Nexus Venture Partners-backed co-living platform Zolostays has also rented 400 beds in Chennai and Hyderabad to Cognizant and Capgemini for employees who were struggling to work from home. “We are charging any-where between Rs 7,000 and Rs 10,000 per bed per month which are the standard Zolostays charges incl- uding food, Wi-Fi, DTH connection, and housekeeping,” says Nikhil Sikri, cofounder and CEO, Zolostays.

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