Media Advisory - Extreme Cold Weather Alert in effect

TORONTO, Dec. 28 /CNW/ - The City of Toronto has activated additional support services to help get homeless people in from the cold by calling an extreme cold weather alert. The alert is in effect until further notice.

Extreme cold weather can be life-threatening to people who spend their time outdoors.

Year round, the City funds extensive services for people who are homeless, including emergency shelters, drop-in centres, Streets to Homes assistance to find and keep permanent housing, housing help and 24 hour street outreach services throughout the city. Throughout the winter, more services are available.

During an Extreme Cold Weather Alert, street outreach workers continue to urge people to go inside and provide transportation to shelters or overnight respite. In addition to ongoing outreach, during an alert:

    
    -   Street outreach is increased, focusing solely on warning clients of
        danger and transporting them to warm places
    -   TTC tokens are available at a number of drop ins so people have
        transportation to shelters
    -   More than 100 agencies are advised of the impending extreme weather
        and reminded of the danger this poses to vulnerable clients
    -   168 shelter spaces are added
    -   Shelters relax service restrictions.
    

An alert is called when Environment Canada:

    
    -   predicts a 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

Call 311. Or directly contact one of the following:

    
    -   Adults and youth requiring a shelter bed should call 416-338-4766, 24
        hours
    -   Families needing emergency shelter should call Central Family Intake
        416-397-5637, 24 hours.
    

If you see someone you feel requires street outreach assistance during an Extreme Cold Weather Alert, call 311. This is not an emergency number. Dial 911 only in the case of an emergency.

For more information, visit http:/www.toronto.ca/housing.

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. 2009 marks the 175th anniversary of Toronto's incorporation as a city. Toronto's government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

    
                     Visit our website at www.toronto.ca
    

SOURCE City of Toronto

For further information: For further information: Media contact: Rob Andrusevich, Strategic Communications, City of Toronto, cell (416) 200-3660


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