Squatters get B7.71bn housing project

Squatters get B7.71bn housing project

The cabinet has agreed in principle to a 7.71-billion-baht project offering help to 27,084 low-income households evicted from state land required for a rail transport development project, deputy government spokeswoman Rachada Dhnadirek said yesterday.

Proposed by the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, the project aims to turn these “state land encroachers” into lawful community residents, she said. The project was initially approved by the cabinet on Tuesday.

The five-year project will be implemented from later this year until 2027 to find proper living quarters for the families who now reside in about 300 communities in 35 provinces. Houses or apartments would be built on land owned by the State Railway of Thailand (SRT), the Treasury Department or private landlords.

“The project will not only provide housing for these 27,084 households but also bring about a system to assist them to live in a new community where they can have good jobs,” she said. “One-half of the budget will come from the Community Organisations Development Institute and the other half from the government.”

Ms Rachada said each of the households will be entitled to receive 80,000 baht in funding for infrastructure improvement for their new homes and another 80,000 baht to cover the rent while they wait for them to be built. They will also be eligible for 250,000 baht in home loans.

“These families will now have a better option when they move out of the state land they have occupied illegally to make way for rail projects. It also means the government will be able to implement these projects in a more timely fashion,” she said.

“Rail projects have often been delayed in the past as these households have nowhere to go and refuse to leave.” Viewed from another angle, the housing project improves low-income earners’ access to the state’s basic housing welfare, Ms Rachada said.