Shelter, Support and Housing Administration

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

Out of the Cold programs provide an additional 100 beds a night on average from mid-November to mid-April. They are funded by the City and operated by faith groups.

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).

24-hour extreme cold weather drop-ins services are available continuously from December 15, 2016 to April 15, 2017.

Additional cold weather services triggered by an alert include

  • 24-hour extreme cold weather drop-ins are open continuously from December 15, 2016 to April 15, 2017. Between November 15 and December 14, 2016 services are triggered by an Extreme Cold Weather Alert (ECWA), as called by the Medical Officer of Health. During the periods when services are triggered by an ECWA, drop-ins will be opened by 3 pm on the day an alert is called. They will  close by noon on the day the alert is terminated.
  • Shelters are directed to relax any service restrictions they may have.
  • More than 100 organizations and agencies that work with homeless people are advised to prepare for increased service demands.
  • Overnight street outreach and transportation services are added. The focus is on informing clients about the danger of weather conditions,urging them to come inside, and transporting them to indoor locations.
  • Transit tokens are made available in many drop-ins so people can reach shelters.
  • Additional shelter spaces are opened.

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