City of Toronto, Ontario, Canada

City of Toronto, Ontario, Canada

MEDIA ADVISORY

January 21, 2011

Extreme Cold Weather Alert in Effect

The City of Toronto has activated additional support services to help get homeless people in from the cold by calling an extreme cold weather alert. The alert is in effect until further notice.

While regular City services for homeless people are focused on permanent housing, when severe winter weather is forecast, the priority becomes one of immediate safety.

Year round, the City funds services throughout the city for people who are homeless, including emergency shelters, drop-in centres, 24 hour street respite, housing help, and 24 hour street outreach and assistance to find and keep permanent housing.

During an Extreme Cold Weather Alert, street outreach workers focus on convincing people to come inside and provide transportation to shelters or overnight respite. In addition to ongoing outreach, during an alert:
• More than 100 agencies are advised of the impending extreme weather and reminded of the  danger this poses to vulnerable clients.
171 shelter spaces are added.
• Shelters relax any service restrictions they may have.
• TTC tokens are available at a number of drop ins for transportation to shelters.

An alert is called 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 area, and/or
• predicts extreme weather conditions, such as a blizzard, ice storm or sudden drops in    temperature.

How to get an emergency shelter bed
Call 311. Or directly contact Central Intake: 1-877-338-3398 (toll free within the GTA).
If you see someone you feel requires street outreach assistance call 311. This is not an emergency number. Dial 911 in an emergency.

For more information, visit http://www.toronto.ca/housing.

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. Toronto’s government is dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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