Solving Homelessness Together

Extreme Cold Weather Alerts

 For emergency shelter, call 24/7:

  • 311, or
  • Central Intake 1-877-338-3398 (free call)

If you see someone on the street in need of assistance  (not an emergency response):

  • Call 311
  • 911 in an emergency

Statistics on Extreme Cold Weather Alerts in Toronto

Services to help people get and keep permanent housing
Year round, the City funds services throughout Toronto for people who are homeless with the goal to help them find and keep permanent housing. These include emergency shelter services, drop-in centres, 24-hour street respite at 129 Peter Street in the downtown core, two 24-hour drop-ins for women, housing help, and street outreach and assistance from 7 am until 11 pm daily.

More services during extreme cold weather
During an Extreme Cold Weather Alert, the attention of service providers focuses on helping homeless people to get off the street and into shelter or street respite. It is dangerous for anyone to remain outdoors when the temperature plummets. Outreach workers, drop in centres, and emergency shelters work together to make sure homeless people have warm and safe places to stay. 

You can help
Call 311 if you see someone on the street who needs outreach assistance. 311 operators will contact outreach workers for follow-up as soon as possible. This is not an emergency service.  In an emergency, always call 911.

Extreme Cold Weather Alerts are called by Toronto Public Health.
See Toronto Public Health's information about extreme cold weather alerts and Cold Weather Plan (PDF).

Additional cold weather services triggered by an alert include

  • 24-hour extreme cold weather alert drop-ins are opened by 3 pm on the day an alert is called. They close by noon on the day the alert is terminated.A drop-in for youth operated by the YMCA is now also open 24/7 until April 15, 2016 at all times, including non-alert days.
  • Shelters are directed to relax any service restrictions they may have.
  • Overnight street outreach and transportation services are added. Focus is on informing clients about the danger of weather conditions,urging them to come inside, and transporting them to indoor locations.
  • More than 100 organizations and agencies that work with homeless people are advised to prepare for increased service demands.
  • Transit tokens are made available in many drop-ins so people can reach shelters.
  • 11 additional shelter spaces are opened at Fort York Residence.

List of drop-ins with TTC tokens during Extreme Cold Weather Alerts