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March 10, 2003
Extreme cold weather alert extended through tonight
Toronto Community and Neighbourhood Services - Toronto's Director of Hostel
Services has extended the ninth extreme cold weather alert of the 2002/2003
winter season to help get homeless people in from the cold. The current alert,
which began on Saturday, March 8th has remained in effect for the past two
days, has now been extended to include tonight - Monday, March 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
- 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.

"This is the first time we've ever called a Cold Alert during March Break,"
said John Jagt, Director of Hostel Services with Toronto Shelter, Housing and
Support. "This year has certainly put a strain on all the community partners
and organizations who have stretched their resources to the limit. Yet they
continue to be there when we need them the most."

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; Canadian Red Cross and the Toronto Police Service.

Media Contact
STREET Helpline service



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