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Jobless engineer loses home over mortgage debt
CIRCUIT board designer David Child is facing an uncertain future after spending Christmas Day sleeping in a park.
Electronics engineer Mr Child was made homeless because he was unable to pay the mortgage on his house in Shannon Close, Grove.
Now he says he doesn’t know what he will do in 2014.
Mr Child, 54, said: “Christmas was rubbish. I slept in a park on Christmas Eve and I managed to crash out for Christmas Day.
“The police will arrest me again for vagrancy, and I can’t get a job if I don’t have an address.
“I can’t move forward.”
Mr Child, who has been divorced seven years and has two adult children, still owes Barclays a large amount - more than £40,000 - on the mortgage for his £400,000 house as well as he says around £15,000 in arrears.
He says he is expecting to be given some money from the sale of his house, which has been repossessed by Barclays, but doesn’t know how much or when.
During his career he worked as a freelance consultant on circuit board design first at Culham and then at Milton Park.
Freelance work dried up about three years ago and since then he has not been able to find a job.
Mr Child, who is claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, said he rented out the rooms in his house to bring in extra money, but it was not enough.
In desperation he offered all the money he had to Barclays, but says it was still not enough.
He was evicted in August and since then has been sleeping in his camper van in the front drive.
He is applying for jobs and looking for alternative accommodation but says he hasn’t had any luck and has been arrested twice on suspicion of vagrancy although he hasn’t been charged with anything.
His 85-year-old mother lives in Norwich, but he said she didn’t like the idea of a homeless person staying in her house over Christmas.
He said: “She doesn’t even comprehend my position.”
He uses both Abingdon and Wantage food banks, and has been to Oxford Homeless Pathways shelter in Luther Street several times, but he said: “You can’t sleep there or take a shower.”
In January 2011, Mr Child was one of a group of “guerrilla poets” who were told to stop leaving poems lying around Grove by the parish council.
Barclays spokeswoman Julia Husband said: “Prior to repossessing the property, Barclays will have exhausted every avenue to support a customer in keeping them in their home.
“This includes working closely with our customer to learn more about their circumstances and agreeing a repayment plan.
“Further support includes directing customers to outside organisations who are able to provide independent financial guidance and advice.
“It is never in our or the customer’s interest to repossess a property and when we do so it is the very last resort, and not a decision we take lightly.”
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