Homeless situation in Pattaya worsening according to local officials, some residents worried about Covid-19 in homeless population

Pattaya, Thailand –

Local residents in Pattaya have expressed concern to Pattaya press about both an increase in homeless in the local area as well as concerns around Covid-19 in the homeless population.

First, a video look at the issue:

Pattaya is approaching two months as of June 10th, 2021, in which all entertainment venues and many other venues, like gyms, massage shops, and beauty clinics, have been ordered closed to help prevent Covid-19.  Pattaya City relies on tourism, including domestic, for about 80% of their GDP, and entertainment-related venues, as well as tourist attractions, are the big economic driver for the local area. With these force closed, many other businesses are also struggling, such as hotels that have laid off staff due to the current situation causing the homeless situation in Pattaya to increase. Additionally, borders still remain closed to foreign tourists without quarantine on top of most domestic visitors not coming due to both concerns about Covid-19 and lack of entertainment venues currently open.

The Pattaya News has regularly covered the homeless situation in Pattaya, including in an article here from late April.

The homeless population has always been around in Pattaya but has risen exponentially (along with the homeless animal population which has seen estimated rising numbers of hundreds of strays, especially dogs, around Pattaya, but that is a different story) and has especially risen during each round of Covid-19 measures and restrictions. Pattaya City has done different things to attempt to control the problem, some successful, some not.

The problem is complex, according to Chonburi Provincial authorities who work with local homeless shelters, as many of those on the streets have both physical and mental illnesses or drug addictions. Indeed, some local residents have recently complained to city hall about allegedly seeing homeless people living in front of shuttered businesses openly consuming illegal drugs. They have also complained about some causing former business fronts to look poor with makeshift shelters, garbage, and other alleged violations.

According to the Chonburi Provincial Authority, many of the homeless are also foreign nationals from Cambodia, Laos, or Myanmar who cannot return home for a variety of reasons including unrest in their own countries or border closures due to Covid-19. Many worked in the service or hospitality industry but lost their jobs and are now unable to leave. Sending them home via Immigration is often not an option, especially for Myanmar nationals. The homeless who are Thai nationals often don’t want to leave to their home province as finding food and begging is still much easier in Pattaya than in a remote province. Additionally, Pattaya has regular charity handout lines where many of the homeless can easily get a meal.

However, now local residents have also been complaining to city hall and the press about concerns about Covid-19 in the homeless population, who often don’t appear to follow Covid-19 precautions like wearing masks, avoiding groups, or social distancing.  These complaints also allege law enforcement rarely does much about it other than ask the homeless to move to different areas as the homeless have no money to pay fines and won’t listen.

It was recently reported to the associated Thai press that a homeless individual who stayed in front of a building in the Banglamung area was found sick by a passerby who called for medical assistance.

Emergency responders reportedly provided CPR on the sick individual before moving them to a local hospital before they were reportedly pronounced dead. Their name was not released to the associated press.

All medical staffers who were involved have been quarantined as the homeless person was a ‘suspected’ infection with Covid -19. A Covid -19 test from the homeless person’s body is currently in process and TPN media stresses that no final result had been given.

Last night (June 4th) The Pattaya News inspected the local Pattaya area where many homeless were being found on Pattaya Beach, Beach Road, and in front of buildings. The majority were not wearing face masks and some appeared to be drinking alcohol.

Local residents want authorities to “fix” the problem, but it is not an easy situation to resolve and the longer business restrictions stay in place, the worse the situation gets. As stated previously, Pattaya and Chonburi do have homeless shelters, however, they have rules and restrictions around sobriety, attending classes, and other steps which many of the homeless on the streets are not currently interested in doing. Pattaya had also been offering free bus tickets to homeless residents who are Thai nationals and from other provinces to go home, but many remain due to ease of food and living in Pattaya compared to their home province.

Do you have a suggestion on resolving the problem? Let us know in the comments below!


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Goongnang Suksawat
Goong Nang is a News Translator who has worked professionally for multiple news organizations in Thailand for many years and has worked with The Pattaya News for more than four years. Specializes primarily in local news for Phuket, Pattaya, and also some national news, with emphasis on translation between Thai to English and working as an intermediary between reporters and English-speaking writers. Originally from Nakhon Si Thammarat, but lives in Phuket and Krabi except when commuting between the three.