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March 3, 2003
Extreme Cold Weather Alert called in March
Toronto Community and Neighbourhood Services - Toronto's Director of Hostel
Services has extended the eighth extreme cold weather alert of the 2002/2003
winter season to help get homeless people in from the cold. The alert is
extended for tonight - for Monday, March 3, 2003.

An alert goes into effect 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
- predicts extreme weather conditions, such as a blizzard or ice storm.

Under the alert the following extra services are available to help homeless
- 88 additional emergency sleeping spaces in Toronto hostels/shelters
- increased street patrols by Anishnawbe Health Street Patrol to reach homeless
- distribution of TTC tickets through drop-in centres and outreach agencies to
help homeless people reach shelters
- emergency transportation through the Canadian Red Cross for homeless people
trying to reach services/shelters.

The STREET Helpline service at 416-392-3777, also operates 24 hours a day to
let homeless people and front-line workers know where to find shelter and other
services. Members of the public can also call this number if they see a
homeless person sleeping outside.

"Just when we thought the weather was warming up, we are experiencing record
low temperatures," said John Jagt, Director of Hostel Services with Toronto
Shelter, Housing and Support. "We are especially concerned when the weather
changes so quickly, and we continue our efforts to encourage people to come in
out of the cold."

Members of the cold alert team include representatives from Toronto Shelter,
Housing and Support, Toronto Public Health, Emergency Medical Services, the Out
of the Cold Program, STREET Helpline, Anishnawbe Street Patrol, Youthlink
Innercity, the Canadian Red Cross and Toronto Police Services.

Media Contact
John Jagt
Director, Hostel Services



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