Extreme cold weather puts homeless at risk

Published On December 14, 2017 | By | News

 By: Alan Sebastian

The City of Toronto is trying to help homeless people in light of the freezing cold temperatures that have hit the city.

The chief medical officer of Toronto has issued an extreme cold weather warning and forecasters are predicting temperatures to drop down to -10c overnight with a real feel closer to -20c, making public safety an issue of concern.

Public health officials warn residents to check the weather before heading out and to dress appropriately for the cold along with ensuring the availability of warm drinks and the importance of staying dry when outside.

The Evangel Hall Mission, is one of many homeless shelters that provide assistance by giving out sleeping bags, mittens and jackets. They also help the homeless find refuge at other shelters through peer programs and by providing alert lists released by the city of Toronto.

“We have partnered with the city of Toronto and other homeless shelters to rent out warming hubs which are open 24/7 and we provide food and shelter for the homeless in Toronto,” said Ainsley Chapman the Executive Director of the organization

Even with so many facilities being made available by the City of Toronto and several other homeless shelters and non-profit organizations, homeless people are still dying on Toronto streets at the rate almost two people per week.

Homeless shelters are generally overcrowded or unable to provide facilities to everyone who need them. And some homeless simply refuse to go to a shelter.

“Shelters can be stressful and dangerous for some people. It works very well for some people and not so much for others. The city is trying to respond to these issues along with non-profit organizations and other shelters,” said Chapman.

Groups and organizations should develop a plan for how to handle cold weather, according to the City of Toronto.

For more information and tips on fighting the cold, visit Evangel Hall Mission.

One Response to Extreme cold weather puts homeless at risk

  1. Christine Smaller says:

    Thank you for this important article. I am the minister at Birchcliff Bluffs United Church – which is the church behind where Fox is being photographed. We have had some concerns raised about how a church could ignore such a terrible plight, which is a very valid question. If anyone is interested, please see our post at: https://www.facebook.com/bluffschurch/posts/806808132858906

    Here is part of it:

    We are touched by the compassion and empathy this wonderful community has raised about Fox, who is currently living on the bench near our church. This gentleman, who plays the guitar and chats with folks on the street, is well known to us. Many of our wonderful congregants such as Cathy Williamson, Michelle Threndyle and Gail Barkic have spent time with him and provided him with food, coffee and conversation. He has made it clear that (like many folks out there) he does not wish to come into the church, but knows that we are there for him at all times. We respect his choice on this matter. Fox is also aware of options relating to shelter and other programs.

    Our congregation is rich in love, hard work and faith – but we are not overflowing with material resources in any way. We offer whatever we can to the community through our ministries including Toby's Place (https://www.facebook.com/tobysplacebbuc) a queer and trans positive drop in for youth and By the Bluffs Foodbank (www.bluffsfoodbank.com) which feeds 400 families a week.

    If anyone would like to get involved in serving the community with us, I would be very glad to speak with you. Likewise, if anyone is in need, we encourage you to get in touch. My direct phone number is 416-578-4551 and my personal e-mail is revcsmaller@gmail.com.

    You can also find out more about our congregation on our website: http://www.bbuc.ca

    God bless,

    Rev. Christine Smaller


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