Surge in homeless people heaps pressure on BMA
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Surge in homeless people heaps pressure on BMA

There are about 30% more homeless people in Bangkok than before the pandemic, according to the Thai Health Organisation (ThaiHealth).

This was highlighted during a seminar on "Homeless not Hopeless: Feedbacks, Hope and Future of Homeless People", co-organised by ThaiHealth, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) and related agencies to mark World Homeless Day on Oct 10.

Phoranee Phuprasert, director of ThaiHealth's Office of Vulnerable Group Support, said homeless people need more support to find work and accommodation to raise their quality of life.

"We have worked with partners to introduce several projects. One of them is a share-the-rent programme for homeless people so they can have a secure place to live," she said.

"We did this after detecting an increasing number of homeless people, especially during the past couple of years ... when the number of homeless people in Bangkok rose 30% from 1,307 people to 1,700, while the number nationwide hit about 4,000," she added.

The share-the-rent programme started with 10 people but now has 40 members sharing 20 houses, said Somporn Harnprom, a coordinator at the Human Settlement Foundation.

He said that apart from having a home and earnings, another thing the homeless lack is basic social welfare -- another issue that requires the support of local authorities.

Deputy Bangkok governor Sanon Wangsangboon said the root problem is a society that drives people to become homeless.

"We have abandoned houses and buildings yet we still have people living on the streets without a home. We also have a problem with food waste while some people don't have enough food to eat. So the core of the problem is that the city's management needs to be improved," he said.

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