Monday night was the coldest night of the year, with temperatures plummeting to -13C in the West Midlands. Birmingham’s streets have been blanketed in several inches of snow this week, with schools closed and commuters battling travel chaos.
But for dozens of rough sleepers living on Birmingham’s streets, there is no relief of a central heated office, or a hot bath at home to help regain the feeling in their numb hands and freezing cold feet.
This is their life.
But sadly, this not an uncommon occurrence. All of the rough sleepers HuffPost UK spoke to this week during the sub-zero temperatures said they knew somebody who has died as a result of extreme weather conditions.
Rough sleeping has shot up in Birmingham since 2010. Official figures released by the Department for Communities and Local Government last year revealed that 55 people were sleeping rough on the city’s streets. That is a 53% rise from the 36 recorded in 2015. In 2010 there were nine people.
There are more than 300,000 people in the UK recorded as homeless, according to Shelter, 4,500 of whom are sleeping rough.
HuffPost spoke to three people living on Birmingham’s streets about the challenges they face in the extreme weather.