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A Wycombe woman's tale of homelessness at Winter
A WOMAN recently been made homeless has spoken about how scary and distressing it is being placed in temporary accommodation with her daughter.
Diane had been living in a privately rented property with her 11-year-old daughter but they were left without a home after a dispute with the landlord.
The 40-year-old - who works in a school kitchen but has been recently signed off due to a broken finger and depression – stayed with a friend for two weeks but had to approach Wycombe District Council after reaching rock-bottom.
Cllr Rachel Knight took on her case but Diane and her daughter were put up in a "disgusting" bed and breakfast in Slough by WDC.
Diane said: "I don’t know how WDC can send women and children to Slough.
"I just asked for a bit of help, but it’s not helping when they’re moving people out of the area. There are perfectly good B&Bs on their doorsteps. I don’t see how they can justify sending people out of the area when there’s B&Bs.
"Where I stayed for that one night in Slough was disgusting. It was dirty, we were sharing a toilet and shower and it didn’t look safe. It wasn’t very nice for an 11 year old girl.
"There were quite a few people outside. It wasn’t very nice. It was intimidating. The door didn’t lock properly and the heating didn’t go off.
"I actually said to Rachel that everything there was no way I could stay there another night. We were very upset, very distressed and very scared."
Following pleas by Cllr Knight, they were moved to Saunderton Lodge which is "100 times better than where we were", says Diane.
Cllr Knight said she gave the family money out of her own pocket and drover them to and from the locations as she couldn’t bear to leave them stranded.
The Labour councillor is currently pushing the council to draw up an improved strategy to temporarily house those in urgent need of a roof over their head.
She said: "It would have been inhumane not to have done something to help them, I couldn’t have someone without food or being unable to send their children to school because they don’t have the bus fare.
"But there’s not an effective strategy in place, it’s a real concern to us and we’re looking to work with the new Cabinet member for Housing, Cllr John Richards, to get something more detailed in place."
Winter Night Shelter charity trustee Paul Griggs warned more needs to be done if Wycombe is to eradicate its homeless problem - starting with the attitude towards the situation.
He said: "People see a few guys sitting on the street drinking and assume they are the homeless people - there are loads of people homeless in Wycombe and they are not necessarily them.
"It isn’t fair to pre-judge every homeless person - it can happen to anyone, you’re only two paycheques away from homelessness."