Many of this increasing number are foreign men who have separated from their Thai wives and now have no money, explained Natee Saravari, secretary-general of the Issarachon Foundation.
Foreigners can own houses, condos and other property, but these are often registered in the names of their wives’ or girlfriends’ names, meaning they really have no rights and can easily be ejected.
The charity has been helping Thai homeless for 10 years, but has recently began assisting homeless foreigners as well.
Mr. Natee stated, “In Pattaya we see them sorting through the trash in front of McDonald’s for something to eat, and hanging out in front of restaurants asking customers for money.”
According to his estimates, there are roughly 30,000 homeless Thais and over 200 homeless foreigners in the country.
He also said that most of the foreign homeless are alcoholics, while most of the homeless Thais suffer from mental illness.
The charity has urged the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to set up a system with embassies to address the problem. Most of the homeless are in Thailand on expired passports or without any passport at all.
Thailand had over 22 million tourists last year, and has an ever-growing number of Western retirees living here permanently.
Buaphan Promphakpiing, an associate professor of social studies at Khon Kaen University, said “Thailand’s laws covering foreigners are very outdated and should be revised to deal with the changed circumstances. Under the current laws, foreigners’ rights are not very well protected.” Image/Google Images