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City of Toronto Issues Extreme Cold Alert

City boosts efforts to get homeless out of the cold and into shelters.

The City of Toronto issued an Extreme Cold Weather alert Monday as temperatures dipping to below minus 20 at times with the wind chill. 

During Extreme Cold Alerts the city boosts efforts to get homeless people out of the cold and into shelters.  City shelters call in additional staff to help provide enhanced services that include additional shelter spaces as well as street outreach efforts.

Below is further information on Extreme Cold Weather Alerts and the city’s efforts to get people out of the cold.  The following information is from the City of Toronto website:

 During an Extreme Cold Weather Alert:
• Shelters are directed to relax any existing service restrictions and are reminded that if a bed is not available at their site, they are to allow the client to stay at the shelter until they are able to find a bed for them elsewhere in the system.
• The City of Toronto immediately adds 26 shelter spaces for men and women to the shelter spaces available to staff looking to refer a client to a shelter bed.
• Overnight street outreach is increased in the downtown core, focusing solely on warning people of danger and urging them to get into a shelter or another warm, indoor place. Workers will transport people to warm places if necessary.
• TTC tokens are available at some drop-ins so people can use public transit to get to shelters.
• More than 100 agencies are advised of the oncoming extreme weather and asked to relax any service restrictions they may have.

An alert is called when there is increased danger to homeless people from extreme cold weather or extreme winter weather conditions. It is usually called in the morning when Environment Canada takes any of these actions:
• predicts a coming overnight temperature of -15 degrees Celsius or lower, without wind chill
• issues a wind chill warning for outdoor activity for people in the Toronto area
• predicts extreme weather conditions such as a blizzard, ice storm or sudden drops in temperature

How to get an emergency shelter bed any day, any hour:
• Call 311, or
• Directly contact the City of Toronto's Central Intake line; within the Greater Toronto Area it is toll-free at 1-877-338 3398, or
• Go in person to the Streets to Homes Assessment and Referral Centre, located at 129 Peter St. (at Richmond Street).

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