Canada How other cities help the homeless during extreme cold

00:05  05 january  2018
00:05  05 january  2018 Source:   thestar.com

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Metro takes a look at what other cities are doing, from cold -weather bus passes to shelter in transit stations. The Canadian Press reported in December that the transit service in the city invites homeless people into stations to warm up during extreme cold temperatures.

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A woman drags her suitcases in a snowstorm through Times Square on her way to a hotel Thursday in New York City. The city resolves that, during a Code Blue, which is when the temperature drops below 0 C between 4 p.m. and 8 a.m., no homeless person looking for shelter will be turned away.: © Mary Altaffer A woman drags her suitcases in a snowstorm through Times Square on her way to a hotel Thursday in New York City.<br />© Mary Altaffer © Mary Altaffer A woman drags her suitcases in a snowstorm through Times Square on her way to a hotel Thursday in New York City.

Mayor John Tory announced Wednesday the city is talking to Ottawa about opening the Moss Park Armoury to Toronto’s homeless population, amid calls that the city isn’t working hard enough to get them out of the extreme cold. Metro takes a look at what other cities are doing, from cold-weather bus passes to shelter in transit stations.

New York City

When the temperature drops below 0 C between 4 p.m. and 8 a.m., the city issues a Code Blue. It’s similar to Toronto’s extreme cold alert but with a snappier name.

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0° Enter City /Postcode City or Postcode. During extremely cold weather - specifically, when temperatures fall to However, if you are unable to help in any other way, there's certainly no harm in offering someone a warm drink, some food or a blanket - or even just someone to talk to for a while.

The city resolves that, during a Code Blue, no homeless person looking for shelter will be turned away, Isaac McGinn, press secretary for the N.Y.C. Department of Homeless Services, wrote in an email.

Outreach teams are doubled. Members contact vulnerable people on a list they’ve compiled — every four hours, starting at 8 p.m. — encouraging them to get out of the cold and into shelters. During an enhanced Code Blue, they check every two hours. The city also committed to adding 250 new beds for the homeless this week.

Montreal

The Canadian Press reported in December that the transit service in the city invites homeless people into stations to warm up during extreme cold temperatures.

The Société de transport de Montréal has teamed up with social service agencies for the past five years. In addition to sending social workers, it provides a free shuttle to get homeless people to shelters once stations close for the night.

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During this kind of extreme weather, the city or town homepage and social media account will likely already have something posted. It might seem silly to post on social media about how your neighbors can help homeless people, but it's likely a ton of your friends just don't know what to do.

Edmonton

When the temperature drops to -20 C or below (including wind chill) and shelters are at 90 per cent capacity, the city’s central light-rail-transit station may be kept open overnight as a last resort, a spokesperson for Homeward Trust homeless services wrote in an email. In that event, crisis services and emergency medical support will be on hand.

Nashville

This Tennessee city may not seem like a place where cold is a big concern, but city officials and non-profits have a four-level Cold Weather Community Response Plan to ensure homeless people have a place to stay.

Nashville also has a novel solution for getting them off the street: free bus passes. The passes are activated when the temperature drops to 0 C or below for 24 hours. People can use them to grab a free ride to a shelter or just get a break from the cold.

This winter, outreach workers have handed out 200 cold-weather bus passes to people living in encampments, communications adviser Michael Cass wrote in an email from the mayor’s office.

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