NEWS

Lack of cold weather alert left many without a place to stay

01/25/2014 02:56 EST | Updated 03/27/2014 05:59 EDT
An extreme cold weather alert has been issued for Toronto again today, but many some councillors and advocates for the homeless are asking why the alert wasn’t raised last night when temperatures were well below freezing with severe winds.

The forecast for Saturday evening is - 10 C. Extreme weather alerts are issued when temperatures reach below - 15 C (without wind chill).

During an alert, the city opens up more shelter spaces — and volunteers head out to encourage the homeless to come in from the cold.

Alerts have been in effect for most of the week due to the return of the polar vortex, but as of Friday morning it was lifted, because temperatures sat at around - 12 C. However, with the severe wind warning the temperatures felt more like in the - 20s. 

The lack of alert meant places like Metro Hall — typically functioning as a warming centre in such events — were closed to those in need.

The cold weather alert was issued again on Saturday morning, but that was far too late according to some city councillors.

Coun. Kristyn Wong-Tam took to Twitter last night to express her anger at the situation.

Wong-Tam says she called the general manager of shelter support to keep the warming centre at Metro Hall open Friday night, but was told the protocol wouldn't change unless council gave some new direction.

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