‘I worry I won’t wake up’ – rough sleepers fearful with more snow on the way

Rough sleeper Roy Ransom, 47 'Picture: Byron Melton
Rough sleeper Roy Ransom, 47 'Picture: Byron Melton
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ROUGH sleepers say they fear for their lives as forecasters predict up to 20cm of snowfall in the city.

The Met Office has issued amber weather warnings today and tomorrow as Portsmouth gets set to face the blizzard-like conditions.

Rough sleeper Justin Bale, 31, and his dog Acer. 'Picture: Byron Melton

Rough sleeper Justin Bale, 31, and his dog Acer. 'Picture: Byron Melton

The service claims The News region could be battered by 26 hours-worth of snow and winds up to 41mph over the next two days.

And as the precipitation looks to bring with it temperatures which could feel as low as -11C, homeless people bedding down in the heart of Portsmouth are gravely worried.

Roy Ransom was forced to live on the streets 10 years ago, after his landlord went bankrupt and he lost his flat.

The 47-year-old – who spends his days in doorways in Commercial Road – said: ‘The cold is a killer and I’m not getting any younger.

‘I do my best to try and combat it but I worry one night – maybe tonight, maybe tomorrow – I’ll go to sleep and I won’t wake up the next day.’

Ahead of conditions expected to worsen today, Hampshire police have urged motorists not to drive unless it is ‘absolutely necessary’.

Among those waiting in the street for the snap to hit is Justin Bale, who became homeless recently after a four-and-a-half month spell in prison.

The 31-year-old, who curls up with his dog Acer in the city centre, said: ‘I signed up for a housing referral while I was inside but when they released me I was told I wasn’t even on the list.

‘I’m in the process of trying to get a flat now, but this weather isn’t nice.

‘It was my birthday on Tuesday and the snow here was quite bad – I’m just lucky I had my little companion [Acer] to keep me warm.’

National figures from charity Crisis predict the number of UK rough sleepers will quadruple by 2041 – sitting at about 236,000 in 2016.

As the weather worsens in Hampshire, rough sleepers can turn to charities for day and night services – including the Society of St James.