Compassionate efforts aim to relocate Pattaya beach dwellers to welfare shelters

Pattaya City officials engage with a homeless man living under a road flyover, emphasizing compassion and support in their outreach efforts.

PATTAYA, Thailand – Pattaya faces an often-overlooked challenge: addressing the needs of homeless people who call the beach their home. In a compassionate initiative, Pattaya City authorities, alongside the Chonburi Provincial Homeless Protection Centre and other agencies, are striving to relocate these individuals to temporary welfare shelters.

While the initiative is noble, it encounters significant hurdles. Many homeless individuals prefer the freedom of the streets over the confines of a shelter, a choice protected by law and human rights regulations. For them, the beach offers a sense of autonomy and connection to their chosen lifestyle, despite its hardships.

Temporary shelters for homeless men, women, and children offer not just a roof but access to healthcare, meals, and social services, aiming to enhance their overall quality of life.

A social worker with the Chonburi Provincial Homeless Protection Centre explains, “We understand that for many, moving into a shelter feels like a loss of freedom. Our job is to offer support, not force a lifestyle change. We aim to provide options that respect their choices.”

The initiative focuses on balancing the provision of necessary support with respect for personal liberties. Temporary shelters provide not just a roof, but access to healthcare, meals, and social services, aiming to enhance the overall quality of life. Authorities are determined to meet physical needs while also considering the emotional and psychological well-being of the homeless community.

For individuals like Uncle Lek, who has lived on Pattaya Beach for over a decade, the beach is more than just a place to sleep; it embodies a way of life. “This is my home,” he says. “I’ve seen the sunrise here every day for years. Moving to a shelter feels like losing my freedom.”

Homeless people around Pattaya Beach are gathered and transported to the Chonburi Provincial Homeless Protection Centre for relocation to temporary welfare shelters.

Despite these deeply rooted preferences, the city remains committed to offering support. Mobile units visit areas where homeless individuals gather, providing medical assistance, food, and information about available shelters. These units serve as a bridge, offering help while respecting individuals’ choices to stay on the streets.

“The challenge is not just providing shelter but ensuring the homeless community feels respected and heard,” says a Pattaya City official. “We want them to know we are here to support them, not to control them. This ongoing effort underscores a delicate balancing act: offering a helping hand without imposing solutions.”