TORONTO, Feb. 16, 2013 /CNW/ - The City of Toronto has called an Extreme
Cold Weather Alert to make vulnerable homeless people aware of the
dangers of staying outside too long in cold weather and to ensure they
have safe and warm places to go. This is in effect until further
An Extreme Cold Weather Alert is called to trigger additional
homelessness services. Alerts are typically called in the morning for
the coming overnight period so that community agencies have sufficient
time to call in extra staff to provide enhanced services.
During an Extreme Cold Weather Alert:
Shelters are directed to relax any existing service restrictions and are
reminded that if a bed is not available at their site they are to allow
the client to stay at the shelter until they are able to find a bed for
them elsewhere in the system.
The City of Toronto immediately adds 172 shelter spaces to those
available to staff looking to refer a client to a shelter bed.
Overnight street outreach is increased in the downtown core, focusing
solely on warning people of danger and urging them to get into a
shelter or another warm, indoor place. Workers will transport people to
warm places if necessary.
TTC tokens are available at some drop-ins so people can use public
transit to get to shelters.
More than 100 agencies are advised of the oncoming extreme weather and
asked to relax any service restrictions they may have.
An alert is called when there is increased danger to homeless people
from extreme cold weather or extreme winter weather conditions. It is
usually called in the morning when Environment Canada:
predicts a coming overnight temperature of -15 degrees Celsius or lower,
without wind chill;
issues a wind chill warning for outdoor activity for people in the
Toronto area; and/or
predicts extreme weather conditions such as a blizzard, ice storm or
sudden drops in temperature.
How to get an emergency shelter bed any day, any hour:
Call 311 or directly contact the City of Toronto's Central Intake line
within the Greater Toronto Area toll-free at 1-877-338 3398, or go in
person to the Streets to Homes Assessment and Referral Centre, located
at 129 Peter St. (at Richmond Street).
The Streets to Homes Assessment and Referral Centre is always open and
has 24-hour street respite for those who do not want a shelter bed, as
well as walk-in access to shelter beds throughout the system. Housing
workers are available Monday to Friday to assist street-involved people
to find permanent housing.
If you see someone who you think requires street outreach assistance,
call 311. It is not an emergency number. In an emergency, dial 911.
Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home
to a diverse population of about 2.7 million people. Toronto's
government is dedicated to delivering customer service excellence,
creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size
and cost of government and building a transportation city. For
information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto
residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days
More information is available at http://www.toronto.ca/housing.
SOURCE: City of Toronto
For further information:
Media contact: Pat Anderson, Manager, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration, firstname.lastname@example.org