Bangkok slum advocates unite: Demand for affordable housing echoes on World Habitat Day

Photo: by Four Regions Slum Network, on Facebook.

Advocates from the Four Regions Slum Network approached Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt, demanding immediate action to alleviate the city’s affordable housing crisis for its underprivileged citizens. The plea took place during a protest at Lan Khon Muang Plaza yesterday, October 2, coinciding with World Habitat Day, an annual event observed.

The protesters submitted a list of requests to the 57 year old Bangkok chief, with the primary appeal being an increase in land acquisition for public housing projects.

They encouraged the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) to utilise their land or request other state agencies to do so to erect more public housing, which would be distributed under the Ban Mun Kong scheme to lower-income earners.

Chadchart acknowledged the proposal but pointed out that the BMA does not possess large land areas that can be converted into housing projects. Instead, he suggested providing rental assistance to low-income earners as a temporary measure while the government endeavours to provide them with financial independence.

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Chadchart also mentioned an observed increase in complaints from residents in areas where affordable housing has been provided to low-income earners. While not specifying the nature of these complaints, he assured that these issues would be taken care of soon.

In addition, the Four Regions Slum Network called for the BMA to broaden access to its housing support programmes.

Housing tax

Their suggestion included conducting a survey to pinpoint communities that require such support the most. The network proposed the implementation of a housing tax on the residents of the recipient communities to fund these schemes, reported Bangkok Post.

Chadchart emphasised that all city dwellers, regardless of their location, have a right to basic utilities and welfare services. He also guessed that a reduction in living costs could be achieved by ensuring people do not reside too far from their workplaces. The Bangkok governor left the meeting assuring that the BMA will find a way to improve their standard of living.

In 1985 the United Nations designated the first Monday of October every year as World Habitat Day. The idea is to reflect on the state of our towns and cities and the basic right of all to adequate shelter. This was put to show yesterday by the Four Regions slum network.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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