Covid increases the number of homeless in the city



Covid increases the number of homeless in the city

The crisis forces many people to take to the streets

More and more people have found themselves on the streets of Bangkok after the companies that employed them were hit by the pandemic or took advantage of it for too long.

Safer than a swim: A young man bathes in Klong Lod along Atsadang Road after the water quality of the canal has improved and the surrounding areas have been renovated.

‘A’, 35, from Sakon Nakhon, worked as a waiter in a restaurant in Bangkok. The company went bankrupt after closures and pandemic restrictions pushed customers away.

For a while, he waited impatiently for his employer to call him on his cell phone as he placed his hopes in the restaurant’s resumption of operations and his return to work.

But he never got the call. Worse yet, its outdated model phone was dying. So he decided to sell it for 100 baht to a second hand phone store in the Klong Lod area.

“I sold the only possession of value I had,” ‘A’ said.

His search for a job in the city was unsuccessful. More companies were laying off workers than they were recruiting during the worst economic crisis in decades.

‘A’ lives from day to day. He is often seen queuing for food distributions on Ratchadamnoen Avenue and sleeps wherever he can find room.

“All I wish for the New Year is to find a job and for Covid-19 to go away.”

Meanwhile, “B”, another homeless man, said he recently quit his job as a security guard after his employer only partially paid his salary and delayed payment.

“It was not being treated fairly,” said the 39-year-old Yasothon native.

He was a coolie in a truck transport company and also a cook. He learned the ropes of southern cuisine when he accompanied his uncle who worked in a restaurant when he was young. Her New Year’s wish was to get a job and save enough money to return to her home province.

Somporn Hanprom, coordinator of the Human Settlement Foundation, said the pandemic crisis has driven many people into homelessness.

“They have not been rehired or have not been able to find a new job. These people suddenly found themselves without a job and unprepared to face life with little savings to support themselves,” said he declared.

Some with a little more savings have rented a room with dismissed colleagues. “At least they have a roof over their heads and a decent toilet,” he said.

But it may only be a matter of time before they take to the streets, as the pandemic persists and job prospects for many remain poor.



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