New Class of Homeless in Thailand: Westerners

An estimated 200 expats living on Thai streets
By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 22, 2013 4:41 PM CDT
New Class of Homeless in Thailand: Westerners
A homeless Thai man looks on as he sits at Sanam Luang n Bangkok, Thailand.   (AP Photo/David Longstreath)

(Newser) – Homelessness is not a new problem in Thailand, but this is: an increasing number of expat Westerners are now also living rough on the country's streets, according to local charities. Many have been kicked out of home by their Thai wives, or have spent all their money and have overstayed their visas, risking jail if they try to leave the country, Reuters reports in separate text and video stories. Homeless shelters are banned from taking in foreigners who are in the country illegally, and charities estimate around 200 Westerners are now living on Thailand's streets.

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"I'm more comfortable here than I am at home," says a 61-year-old American, who was kicked out of home by his local wife but doesn't want to go back to his hometown in North Carolina. "I don't have to worry about gunshots and all those crazy stuff like this and I'm just comfortable here." A 43-year-old homeless man from the Netherlands has a similar story. "I lost some money so my wife got very upset, my whole family got angry," he says. "They managed to get rid of me somehow, so I left." But he says he still doesn't want to return home and leave his estranged wife and kids behind. (Read more Thailand stories.)

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