First extreme cold Weather Alert called|
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Toronto Hostel Services has issued the first extreme cold weather alert of the
2004/2005 winter to help get homeless people in from the cold. The alert is
effective for today only, Sunday, December 19. Toronto Hostel Services will
review the weather on Monday morning before determining whether to extend the
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
- 107 additional emergency sleeping spaces in Toronto shelters
- enhanced street outreach services, including emergency transportation to
shelters, provided by Anishnawbe Health, Red Cross, Native Men's Residence and
Christie Ossington Neighbourhood Centre
- distribution of emergency TTC tickets through drop-in centres and outreach
agencies to help 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 call this number if they see a homeless
person sleeping outside.
This is the ninth year the Extreme Cold Weather Plan has been in place. Last
year, Toronto had 27 days of extremely cold weather. "We are working to provide
long-term solutions to homelessness," said Elaine Smyer of Toronto Shelter,
Housing and Support, "but when the weather becomes extremely cold, our first
priority is to ensure the immediate safety of our most vulnerable citizens."
Team members include representatives from Toronto Shelter, Housing and Support,
Toronto Public Health, Toronto Emergency Medical Services, the Canadian Red
Cross Society, Native Men's Residence, Anishnawbe Health Toronto, Christie
Ossington Neighbourhood Centre, Community Information Toronto, Street Helpline
and the Toronto Police Service.
For more information about cold weather alerts and what you can do to protect
and other, please visit www.toronto.ca/coldweath
Elaine Smyer, Emergency Planning, Toronto Shelter, Housing & Support,
416-397-1384; after hours 416-714-2730
Cynthia Ross, Partnership Development, Toronto Shelter, Housing & Support,
416-392-0546; cell 416-435-3838