Phuket Vice Governor Piyapong Choowong raised the issue at a meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall last Thursday (Feb 25).
The meeting involved a collection of officials working under the name the Phuket Provincial Begging Control Committee, with the goal of providing assistance to homeless people and those begging to get by in the hope of making them self-supporting.
The committee members at the meeting drew up preliminary guidelines of action to be taken and launched what they called the ‘beggars welfare project’.
The meeting concluded that the immediate steps to be taken were
- Establishing information on where beggars live in each community
- Organising a community forum platform through which other people can help improve the quality of life of beggars
- Providing appropriate welfare for families and target groups to meet the needs of work, health, education and welfare, as well as educating local people about the Control of Begging Act (2016)
- Following up on beggars’ potential development and report their progress
“According to Phuket Provincial Government official statistics, last year Phuket had only four beggars and 163 homeless people registered in the database. Of those, 123 of the homeless were taken into care to stay at the Phuket Mit Maitri Home homeless shelter in Mai Khao. The other 40 people chose not to use the service to stay at Phuket Mit Maitri Home,” noted Vice Governor Piyapong.
Since 2017, only 79 people in Phuket were issued cards officially recognising them as destitute, with 15 of those people issued welfare benefit cards for the poor only last year, he added.
“The action plan has been arranged to develop skills and talents of the [affected] people by implementing a project to promote and support them, through which developing talents and skills is an important issue,” V/Gov Piyapong said.
Government officers will help such people to develop their talents and skills, and help them promote their talents and skills on social media,.. in the hope they can gain employment and help themselves to make a living, he added.
“This will be done while officers explain the welfare benefit card for poor people to them, so these people can receive help from the government,” V/Gov Piyaphong said.