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January 9, 2003
Extreme cold weather alert called
Toronto's Director of Hostel Services has issued the second extreme cold
weather alert of the 2002/2003 winter season to help get homeless people in
from the cold. The alert is effective for two days - January 9 and January 10.

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
- 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.

"As the winter continues, so do our efforts to bring people in out of the
cold," said John Jagt, Director of Hostel Services with Toronto Shelter,
Housing and Support. "When the temperature drops to these levels, or when
conditions make staying outside even more dangerous, we have to step up our
response to ensure the immediate safety of some of our most vulnerable

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 at

Media Contact
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