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January 20, 2003
Toronto opens temporary warming and referral centre for homeless people
  
The following was released late Friday afternoon.

Community and Neighbourhood Services - The City of Toronto will open a
temporary warming and referral centre at Metro Hall to provide refuge for
homeless and vulnerable people during this extended period of extreme cold
weather. The centre will provide relief from the cold, hot soup and beverages,
as well as a point of contact for people to gain access to shelter services.
Metro Hall is located at 55 John Street at King Street West.

The City, in partnership with the Canadian Red Cross and other community
organizations, will provide staff and volunteers to assist homeless people who
come in from the cold, and offer information, referrals and other services.

The centre is open this evening from 8:00 p.m. and will operate on a 24-hour
basis through the weekend. A decision will be made on Sunday evening on whether
to keep the centre open, depending on the weather and the need. The City's
action in opening this centre over the weekend will help make up for the fact
that many homeless drop-in centres are closed Saturdays and Sundays.

"So far, a vast network of community groups has pitched in to help. Shelters,
drop-ins, community organizations and staff from Emergency Medical Services are
all part of a team that is working for the safety of homeless persons," said
Phil Brown, the City's General Manager for Shelter, Housing and Support. "This
warming and referral centre represents one more step the City is taking to
encourage everyone to come in from the cold."


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