The houses scrap collectors live in range from shanties, tin shed, mud  or brick to RCC constructions. Similarly, sizes of houses range from 8x10ft to 2 rooms of 10x12ft each.  Sometimes, two rooms are split and one is rented out to someone. In fact, almost one in ten waste-picker has acquired two houses but another one in ten waste-pickers lives in rented accommodation. Their houses are usually single room tenements of less than a 100 square feet and house an average of 6 to 10 members. They are almost always semi-pucca structures, made of corrugated tin, that get heated in summer, leak during the monsoons and lack ventilation. The bathing area is usually a 2ft square enclosure of sackcloth that is as likely to be inside the house as outside. Some scrap collectors do not even have such a defined bathing area. The kind and the size of houses are usually determined by the number of years they have lived in Pune. Older domiciles manage to upgrade their housing and gradually increase their amenities.

They start with procuring their own electric connection and almost immediately start lending it out to their neighbors. They save the money they used to spend on hiring out electricity and earn an additional amount to pay off the meter charges. Most of the houses are electrified, half of them have their own private connection, the other half rent electricity for a single light bulb from their neighbors for Rs 50- 100 per month. Almost everyone borrows or lends electricity. One in fifty however makes do with a mere kerosene wick lamp for lighting in the house. Private water connections feature next in their list of priorities, however this is not very practical in slums where the water problem is very severe. More than half the scrap collectors have their own water connection. Only 1 percent of those who do not, need to walk more than 10 minutes to reach the water source. The same women are the ones who need to buy water by the tanker. One in four scrap collectors, faces a water shortage, particularly during the summer months. Like all slum dwellers, most scrap collectors use municipal public toilets. Those from undeclared new slum pockets are forced to defecate in the early morning or late night hours in open areas near the slum.

A metal cot, trunks to keep clothes in, a kerosene stove, grinding stone and essential vessels for cooking constitute the essentials of most houses. Metal racks for storage, electric fans, radio tape recorders and televisions are bought as the family improves in economic status. Very few families have electric grinders or cycles. Usually families own cycles with a male adolescent in school or college or an adult in some form of permanent employment. The exceptions are cycle feriwalas most of whom have their own bicycles. These consumer durables are bought at the doorstep on easy daily instalments paid over 3 months, pushing the cost up to nearly double the original cost.

The slums housing them are sometimes older habitations predating 1972, and such slums are recognised or declared slums. These slums offer inhabitants basic amenities such as water connections, toilets, lights and paved roads. Most of the slums that house scrap collectors are reasonably well lit. A few are also paved and have open constructed drainage channels. Inhabitants also have a photo-pass for their house issued by the municipal authorities that entitles them to alternate place in case of eviction. Almost half the scrap collectors have photopasses for the houses they live in, since they have been resident in the city for many years. Photo-passes are regularly misused and sold along with the house. A house with a photo-pass is almost never likely to be demolished or shifted. In older rehabilitation schemes, slum dwellers have moved to new places and sold the houses they occupied earlier to newer inhabitants. No new photo-passes have been issued in Pune since 1980. Newer migrants (post 1980) have continued to occupy private and public spaces that are initially considered undeclared slums and enjoy no benefits. Ten per cent of scrap collectors live in unrecognised slums where the municipal corporation provides absolutely no civic amenities. Every few years the number of such slums goes up and elected representatives and political leaders convert illegal slums in their constituencies into declared slums. The declaration of slums is a legal process initiated by the municipality. Once this is done, basic amenities are provided in the slum by the municipality. Except in the case of very large development projects such as road widening and the construction of national highways, slums are not threatened and are usually regularised sooner or later. Even the slums that have come up as late as 1997 have already got basic amenities.