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Monday, June 17, 2024

BMA to Consolidate Facilities for Homeless in Effort to Improve Ratchadamnoen Avenue

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is taking steps to enhance the appearance of Ratchadamnoen Avenue by consolidating facilities for the homeless in the area. This initiative follows a report from the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, which indicates a decrease in the number of homeless individuals from 1,600 to approximately 1,400 this year.

Concerns have been raised about the state of Ratchadamnoen Avenue, especially after viral photos showed homeless people living in front of abandoned structures near Satriwithaya School on Ratchadamnoen Klang Avenue. It is believed that the avenue has become attractive to the homeless due to regular offerings of cash and food by nighttime benefactors. Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt stated that one solution is to limit the locations where homeless individuals can gather to one area under the Phra Pinklao Bridge and another in Sake Alley on Assadang Road.

Governor Chadchart emphasized that this approach aims not only to improve the cleanliness of Ratchadamnoen Avenue but also to establish registration procedures for the homeless in the future. The BMA is also working to provide job opportunities for the homeless, with 169 job vacancies currently available to them.

In addition to physical reorganization, the Baan Imjai shelter will be relocated to the vicinity of Chaloem Wan Chat Bridge after the termination of its rental agreement in Soi Mansri. Governor Chadchart assured that the renovation activities for the new shelter premises are expected to be completed this year.

Weeraphan Suphanchaimat, Chairman of the Thai Health Organisation’s Directing Committee on Health Promotion for the Homeless, estimated that nearly half of Bangkok’s homeless population resides in Phra Nakhon district and Ratchadamnoen Avenue. As a response, ThaiHealth and related sectors have established a drop-in center under Phra Pinklao Bridge, offering access to job opportunities, healthcare services, and essential facilities such as laundromats and shower rooms for those in need.

Thapanee Sirisombun, Head of the Bangkok Homeless Protection Centre, revealed that the newly registered homeless visitors at the drop-in facility are typically between the ages of 40 and 60 years old, according to Bangkok Post.

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