City of Toronto issues Extreme Cold Weather Alert and advises homeless people to seek shelter

TORONTO, Jan. 2, 2012 /CNW/ - The City of Toronto has called an Extreme Cold Weather Alert to ensure vulnerable homeless people are aware of the dangers of cold weather and have safe and warm places to go. This is in effect until further notice.

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

Year round, through Shelter, Support and Housing Administration Division, 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, as well as 24 hour street respite. 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:

  • Shelters relax any existing service restrictions
  • 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, asked to relax any service restrictions they may have,  and are reminded of the danger this poses to vulnerable clients
  • 172 shelter spaces are added

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 Central Intake toll free within the GTA: 1 877 338 3398.

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

For more information, visit

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 a week.

SOURCE City of Toronto

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