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January 27, 2003
Extreme cold weather alert extended through Tuesday
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 was in place through Thursday night, has now been extended to include
Monday, January 27 and Tuesday, January 28.

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 City's protocol for cold weather alerts ensures extra services are
available to help bring people in from the cold," said John Jagt, Director of
Hostel Services with Toronto Shelter, Housing and Support. "We are continuing
to work with all of our partners to make sure that happens."

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
Emergency Medical Services and Toronto Police Service.

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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