City expands warming centres, winter services for homeless system
HAMILTON, ON – In response to the cold weather and inclement weather events over the past few days the City has worked to implement immediate and longer-term solutions to ensure greater and more reliable access to warm places for our community’s vulnerable houseless population during the winter season, and during Cold Alerts.
Effectively immediately, the City has contracted with The Hub to operate drop-in services 10 pm to 10 am overnight every night from now until March 31, in addition to their regular operating hours 5 pm to 9 pm, seven days a week.
The expansion of the overnight drop-in at The Hub through March 31 complements other ongoing drop-in programs in Hamilton’s homeless serving system including YWCA Carol Anne’s Place (overnight drop in 10 pm to 9 am for women and non-binary individuals), Mission Services Willow’s Place (women, daily from 9 am to 8:30 pm), the Wesley Day Centre (Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 4 pm) and Living Rock Youth Resources (daily drop-in 1 pm to 4 pm for Youth).
Additionally, the City has augmented its response adding additional warming centre hours for this coming statutory holiday weekend:
Central Memorial Recreation Centre will remain open for extended hours this weekend:
- December 31 until 10 pm
- January 1 8 am to 10 pm
- January 2 8 am to 10 pm
Community capacity continues to be a major need in our homeless-serving system. In light of capacity challenges currently faced by our community partners, and based on availability of City staff, the City plans to offer extended operating hours at the City recreation centre in the following situations: when City facilities would close due to a statutory holiday or during extreme weather, and/or in the event of weather conditions that would prompt a need for additional warming centres and/or community partners indicate the need for additional warming capacity. The City continues to work internally to find additional capacity for warm places and drop-ins including through work with the Hamilton Public Library.
The City continues to look at additional potential service providers and encourages any organization that has the capacity to operate as an overnight warming centre to please reach out to the City’s Housing Services Division at [email protected].
The City also plans to conduct a formal review of its current cold response policy and protocols early in the new year to ensure that the response meets the needs of the community moving forward.
This information has been added to the City’s Cold Alerts & Community Response webpage hamilton.ca/cold
- Hamilton City Council recently approved one-time funding (up to $125,000) for overnight Cold Alert response during this season, and consideration of annual funding to support an ongoing Cold Alert Response, through the 2023 Council Operating budget deliberations.
- The City’s contracts for Cold Alert Response, including the Hub’s, provided for full flexibility to open their overnight program on days they determine weather indicates a need, independent of an issuance of a Cold Alert.
- The City continues to look at additional potential service providers and encourages any organization that has the capacity to operate as an overnight warming centre to please reach out to the City’s Housing Services Division at [email protected].
Hamiltonians have my commitment that the City continues to work diligently towards next steps and solutions to protect the most vulnerable in our community. Thank you to the Council members who reached out, and thank you to staff for putting together these interim measures.Mayor Andrea Horwath
Learn more about Cold Alerts, and access a complete list of resources available to the community at www.hamilton.ca/cold