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January 9, 2004
Toronto opens temporary warming and referral centre for homeless people
The City of Toronto will open a temporary warming and referral centre at Metro
Hall tonight 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 beverages and 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 St. John Ambulance and community outreach
organizations, will assist homeless people who come in from the cold by
offering information, referrals, and transportation to shelters and other

The centre is open this evening from 8 p.m. and will operate on a 24-hour basis
through the weekend. 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 on
Saturdays and Sundays.

"So far, a vast network of community groups has pitched in to help. Shelters,
drop-ins, community organizations and St. John Ambulance 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."

Media contacts:
Elaine Smyer,
Manager, Emergency Planning, Toronto Shelter, Housing & Support,
416-397-1384, cell 416-575-5237 or pager 416-714-2730

Rosemary Bennett,
Manager, Communication, Toronto Community and Neighbourhood Services,
416-392-8386 or pager 416-328-4402

Cynthia Ross,
Partnership Development, Toronto Shelter, Housing & Support,
416-392-0546 or cell 416-435-3838



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