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Man stages Wycombe rooftop appeal for help to find a home
A HOMELESS man climbed to the roof of the Old Town Hall and hung a banner pleading for someone to help him find a home.
Peter Barnes told the BFP he hung the ‘home me’ banner after scaling the scaffolding at the front of the historic building out of “desperation”.
Police closed off Queen Victoria Road at 6.45am this morning as officers convinced the 53-year-old to come down from his rooftop appeal.
Mr Barnes said: “I went up there out of pure desperation, someone has to listen to me and help me find somewhere to live.
“All I want to do is find a house and get back on with my life.”
Mr Barnes, who has been living in his car since September, said he hoped officers arriving at Wycombe District Council’s HQ opposite the Old Town Hall would see his plea and help to put a roof over his head.
He also believed it was the only way police would take seriously his claims that he had been defrauded of £900 - money he had hoped to put towards a place to live.
Mr Barnes said he had saved up the cash during a 28 night stay at the Wycombe Homeless Connection in January.
He said “I was aiming the banner at the council as they do not seem to think they have a reason to house me. I’m born and bred in High Wycombe and I’ve always paid my bills but I can’t get a house.
“I need to get my money back as £900 is a month’s rent, food and enough to keep my car running for work. The police were great - I surrendered without any problems but I thought this was the only way.
“You need a big deposit for a place so I’m desperate to find a landlord who will accept just rent but there aren’t many about – it would be fantastic if I could find one as it would be the end to all my problems.”
Officers said they closed Queen Victoria Road at 6.45am and a man climbed down from the roof of the town hall – which is undergoing a revamp – at about 7.03am. He was not arrested.
Police also confirmed it was investigating the fraud allegations Mr Barnes has made against another party.
In a statement WDC said: "We’ve been working with Mr Barnes to give housing advice and assistance, after he contacted us earlier this year.
"We are sympathetic to his situation, but from what he told us about his circumstances he was not assessed as being in urgent, priority need of housing under the homelessness legislation.
"We understand that Mr Barnes has a preference for social housing, rather than private rented accommodation, which will take longer to become available.
"If Mr Barnes’ circumstances have changed, we would urge him to contact us so that we can refer him to the connection outreach service, which will explain the housing options available."
The council said it appreciated Mr Barnes was making a statement with his stunt but "strongly discouraged anyone else from doing so for safety reasons."
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