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Additional homelessness services initiated during cold alert

City of BrantfordAdditional homelessness services initiated during cold alert

The Medical Officer of Health for the Brant County Health Unit has issued a cold alert, effective Tuesday, January 31, 2023. A cold alert is issued when temperatures are expected to drop below -15°C, without wind chill.

Exposure to extreme cold weather can increase the immediate risk of cold-related injuries including hypothermia and frostbite. Cold weather can also increase the risk of cardiovascular-related mortality for up to several days after exposure.

During a cold alert, focus is placed on promoting access to safe and warm shelter for individuals living in vulnerable conditions with limited heat.

To support homeless and vulnerable individuals when an Extreme Cold Weather Alert is called, the following additional homelessness services are initiated:

  • No one will be turned away from shelter
  • Individuals can go to the HRC / Salvation Army at any time, and are able to warm up while being directed to available services
  • The City’s Emergency Shelter Services has available spaces (beds).  If these spaces become occupied, staff can offer shelter in a motel, or provide other supports (for example, transportation to a relative)

If you are in need of supports or are a resident who has concerns about an individual who may require supports or shelter, please note the following support services:

Housing Resource Centre (HRC) – Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Salvation Army Booth Centre – After hours and weekend access

  • In-person: 187 Dalhousie Street
  • Phone: 519-753-4193

Food and Clothing Supports

The Brantford-Brant Food Calendar provides locations, dates, and times of various local meal and food bank programs. Visit www.brantford.ca/FoodbankCalendar to learn more.

Everyone is at risk during very cold weather. In temperatures of -15°C or colder, unprotected skin can freeze in less than 30 minutes and the risk of developing hypothermia is high. Some groups are particularly vulnerable to the frigid temperatures, including, older adults, infants and young children, people with chronic illnesses such as breathing difficulties or heart conditions, people taking certain prescription medication, those experiencing homelessness, people working or exercising outdoors, and people living in homes that are poorly insulated or lack sufficient heating.

To prevent cold injuries, such as hypothermia and frostbite, the Brant County Health Unit recommends the following:

  • Wear several layers of clothing and make sure the outer layer protects you from both wind and wetness.
  • Cover exposed skin (using hats, mittens, or face masks) to protect against frostbite.
  • Drink warm, caffeine and alcohol-free, fluids to prevent dehydration.
  • Check on elderly and vulnerable people frequently, to ensure they are safe and warm.
  • Visit Brantford.ca/ExtremeCold to learn the signs of frostbite and hypothermia.

The alert remains in effect until cancelled by the Medical Officer of Health. Visit www.Brantford.ca/ExtremeCold to learn more and for tips for preventing cold-related illnesses.

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