Pattaya poor, homeless encouraged by low-income residents in Bangsaen, Trat

Friday, 30 August 2013 From Issue Vol. XXI No. 35 By  Warunya Thongrod

About 30 low-income renters and squatters heard how they might one day own their own homes from residents in Bangsaen and Trat who once faced the same difficulties.

Pattaya City Councilman Nikon Phonlookin invited those living in the Nernrodfai and Laem Ratchawet neighborhoods to attend the meeting with Ban Munkhong Project residents Aug. 21. The hope was that the Pattaya residents could find a way out of homelessness and uncertain rental situations.

Members of the Ban Nernrodfai and Laem Ratchawet communities hope to get help from the government in solving their homeless issues and affordable housing shortage.Members of the Ban Nernrodfai and Laem Ratchawet communities hope to get help from the government in solving their homeless issues and affordable housing shortage.

For more than a year, Nernrodfai families have been negotiating with the Social Welfare Department and Community Organization Development Institute to work out a plan to gain funding for 63 low-income homes under the aegis of Ban Munkhong. Their initial proposal was rejected early this year and, despite meeting with government officials in March, no agreement has been reached.

Ban Munkhong is a 100 million baht pilot partnership between cities and the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security. The ministry announced in September 2011 it would allocate 37.8 million baht to fund 4 percent home loans and 46.7 million baht for construction of 290 homes over 15 years in Pattaya. The city earmarked a contribution of another 15.2 million baht to support the program.

Residents seeking permanent homes in the Nernrodfai neighborhood had been squatters on state property before they were evicted. They see Bang Munkhong as their chance to own their own homes for the first time.

While the Nernrodfai residents currently have homes, their leases end this year with no certainty where they’ll land next year. In Laem Ratchaweat, 30 families were removed for squatting on public land.

The Social Development Office had decided to organize the project as a guideline to lead villagers to be able to manage their own residential issues, so they can remain safe and have a better lifestyle.

For the event, the department invited the president of the Ban Munkhong Klong Yai 1 community in Trat to share his experiences. The Pattaya residents also heard from leaders of the Ban Munkhong Chumchon Chokdee Pamna project in Bangsaen.

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