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January 26, 2004
Extreme Cold Weather Alert extended through Tuesday
Toronto's Hostel Services has extended the second extreme cold weather alert of
the 2003/2004 winter season to help get homeless people in from the cold. The
current alert, which began on January 13, has now been extended to include
Monday, January 26 and Tuesday, January 27, 2004.

An alert goes into effect when Environment Canada:
- predicts a temperature of ---15 C 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
- 100 additional emergency sleeping spaces in Toronto shelters
- enhanced street outreach services, including emergency transportation to
shelters, provided by Anishnawbe Health Toronto, the Canadian Red Cross
Society, Native Men's Residence and St. John Ambulance
- distribution of TTC tickets through drop-in centres and outreach agencies to
homeless people reach shelters.

The Street Helpline service at 1-866-392-3777 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.

"Due to the winter storm watch forecast by Environment Canada, we are extending
the alert," said Elaine Smyer, Manager, Emergency Planning, Toronto Shelter,
Housing and Support. "With the extreme weather conditions expected today and
tomorrow, we encourage people to use the shelters."

A team works throughout the winter to monitor weather conditions on the street.
Team members include representatives from Toronto Shelter, Housing and Support,
Toronto Public Health, Toronto Emergency Medical Services, Red Cross, Native
Men's Residence, Anishnawbe, St. John Ambulance, Community Information Toronto,
Street Helpline and the Toronto Police Service. More information about the cold
alert program and Toronto services for homeless people is available on the Web

Media contacts:
Elaine Smyer, Manager, Emergency Planning, Toronto Shelter, Housing and
416-397-1384; after hours 416-714-2730
Cynthia Ross, Partnership Development, Toronto Shelter, Housing and Support,
416-392-0546; 416-435-3838
Rosemary Bennett, Manager, Communication, Toronto Community and Neighbourhood
Services, 416-392-8386; pager 416-328-4402



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