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January 20, 2003
Extreme cold weather alert extended through Thursday
Toronto Community and Neighbourhood Services - Toronto's Director of Hostel
Services has extended the fourth extreme cold weather alert of the 2002/2003
winter season to help get homeless people in from the cold. The current alert,
which is in place through Monday night, has now been extended to include
Tuesday, January 21; Wednesday, January 22; and Thursday, January 23.

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.

"The risks associated with this continued deep-freeze are obvious," said John
Jagt, Director of Hostel Services with Toronto Shelter, Housing and Support.
"Our challenge is to connect with every single individual who is homeless and
hasn't linked with an appropriate service."

Members of the cold alert team include representatives from Toronto Shelter,
Housing and Support; Toronto Public Health; the Out of the Cold Program; STREET
Helpline; Anishnawbe Street Patrol; Youthlink Innercity; and the Toronto Police

More information about the cold alert program and Toronto services for homeless
persons is available on the web at

Media Contact
Access Toronto



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