Health Topics

Cold Alerts & Community Response

The Medical Officer of Health for the City of Hamilton issues a Cold Alert when:

  • The temperature drops, or is expected to drop below -15°C (5°F)
  • The temperature feels like -20°C (-4°F) with wind chill

Wind chill is important because no matter what the thermometer says, the wind makes it feel colder. The stronger the wind, the colder you will feel and the higher the risk of frostbite and hypothermia.

What to do during a Cold Alert

The best place for you during a Cold Alert is indoors.  If you must be outside during a Cold Alert:

  • Dress in layers of clothing. Keep inner layers dry. Wet clothing increases the risk of cold injury.
  • Protect you face, ears and hands with a scarf, hat, and gloves
  • To protect your feet, socks must be dry. Wool is a good material to keep your feet dry.
  • Drink warm fluids, but avoid caffeine and alcohol
  • Avoid strenuous exercise

Community Cold Response

A Cold Alert triggers a Community Cold Response, which is put into effect by a number of community agencies as well as the City of Hamilton. When a Cold Alert is called, there is a focus on promoting access to safe and warm shelter to those on the street and for individuals living in vulnerable conditions with limited heat.  During a Cold Alert:

  • Residents should check on neighbours who may be at risk to make sure they have heat;
  • City of Hamilton Recreation facilities are open during regular business hours for warmth;
  • Recreation staff have shelter information if shelter is needed;
  • Drop-in programs relax their criteria for participation and may increase hours so people can  access a warm place;   
  • The Salvation Army Booth Centre acts as first contact for media and supports this effort by:
    • Partnering with local organizations who can help people access shelter;
    • Triages calls from the public about people on the street who may need shelter;
    • Monitoring shelter space and availability.

Media inquiries or resident concerns about an individual on the street, should be directed to the Salvation Army at 905-527-1444 ext 0
Questions about the Community Cold Response may be directed to City of Hamilton Customer Service at 905-546-2489

Hamilton’s Heat By-law No. 04-091 requires landlords to keep the air temperature of at least 20°C in all liveable spaces between September 1 and May 31. If someone’s rented unit is not being kept at this temperature, they may file a complaint unless the lack of heat is caused from the failure of a tenant to pay for the service which is part of their tenancy agreement.

Municipal Law Enforcement
Hours of operation: Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
Phone: 905 546-2782 or after hours 905-546-2489

Shelters

Good Shepherd Family Centre
143 Wentworth Street South, Hamilton, Ontario  L8N 2Z1
Phone: 905-528-5877

Interval House Hamilton
A transition house for women and children fleeing domestic violence. Provides meals, emergency clothing and personal needs, 7 days a week.
630 Sanatorium Road, Hamilton, Ontario L9C 7S7
Phone: (crisis line) 905-387-8881 | (business line) 905-387-9959

Good Shepherd Martha House
Emergency shelter specializing in the care of victims of domestic violence. A 28 bed security-equipped transition house for women and children in crisis.
25 Ray Street North, Hamilton, Ontario L8R 2X5
Phone: 905-523-6277 | 905-523-8895

Good Shepherd Mary's Place
20 Pearl Street North, Hamilton, Ontario L8R 2Y8
Phone: (crisis line) 905-523-6277 | (business line) 905-540-8000

Native Women's Centre
Provides safe emergency shelter for all women regardless of age, ancestry, culture, place of origin or sexual orientation, with or without children, who are experiencing a crisis in their lives due to family violence, homelessness, or conflict with the law.
Phone: 905-664-1114

Inasmuch House
Emergency shelter for abused and homeless women and their children, as well as female teenagers over the age of 16.
Phone: (crisis line) 905-529-8600 | (business line) 905-529-8149

Womankind
Emergency shelter for single women
Phone: 905-521-9591

Mountainview
Emergency shelter for single women
21 Rosedene Avenue, Hamilton
Phone: 905-318-2666

Good Shepherd Notre Dame House
14 Cannon Street West, Hamilton, Ontario L8R 2B2
Phone: 905-308-8090

Good Shepherd Centre
135 Mary Street, Hamilton, Ontario L8R 1K4
Phone:905-528-9109

Mission Services Men's Residence
325 James Street North, Hamilton, Ontario L8L 1H3
Phone: 905-528-7635

Salvation Army Booth Centre
94 York Boulevard, Hamilton, Ontario L8R 1R6
Phone: 905-527-1444

Community Warm Places

Hamilton offers a number of warm places in the community as drop-in during a cold alert. Use the map to find a location near you. Note: warm place hours and days vary  - check the warm place listing for more details.

Community Warm Places listed by day of the week

Carol Annes Place - YWCA (Women Only)
75 MacNab Street South, Hamilton, Ontario L8P 3C1
Phone: 905-517-9326 (phones answered between 10 pm and 12 noon)
Hours of operation: 10 pm to 8 am
Overnight access for women, open 7 days a week. Limited capacity. First come, first served.

City of Hamilton Recreation Centres
All locations
Hours of operation: Business hours vary 

De Dwa Da Dehs Nye>s Indigenous Housing Services
Provides a heating station during a cold alert to both indigenous and non-indigenous peoples.
20 Kenilworth Avenue North, Hamilton, ON L8H 4R3
Phone: 905-544-4320
Hours of operation: Monday to Thursday 9 am to 3:30 pm.


Hamilton Out of the Cold
MacNab Presbyterian Church

116 MacNab Street South, Hamilton, Ontario  L8P 3C3
Hours of operation: Dinner served from 4 to 5:30 pm

Hamilton Out of the Cold
Immanuel Christian Reformed Church

61 Mohawk Road West, Hamilton, Ontario L9C 1V9
Hours of operation: Dinner at 5 pm

Hamilton Out of the Cold
St. John’s Lutheran Church
104 Hughson Street, Hamilton, Ontario  L8R 1C6
Hours of operation: Dinner served from 4 to 5:30 pm


Hamilton Public Library - Central Branch
55 York Boulevard, Hamilton, Ontario  L8N 4E4
Hours of operation: 9 am to 9 pm

Mental Health Rights Coalition
Provides peer support, drop-in, access to telephones and computers
100 Main Street East, Hamilton, Ontario  
Phone: 905-545-2525
Hours of operation: 11 am to 4 pm

Mission Services Willow’s Place (Women only)
196 Wentworth Street North, Hamilton, Ontario
Phone: 905-528-5100 Ext 1200
Hours of operation: 9 am to 8:30 pm


Notre Dame Community Resource Centre
14 Cannon Street West, Hamilton, Ontario L8R 2B3
Phone: 905-308-8090
Hours of operation: 10:30 am to 6:30 pm
Open to youth 16 to 21 yrs. 

Seniors Drop in Support Centre St. Matthew's House
460 Wentworth Street North, Hamilton, Ontario  L8L 5W8
Hours of operation:  9 am to 3:30 pm
During Cold Alerts the centre is open for meals and programs. Open to seniors 55+.

Wesley Day Centre
195 Ferguson Avenue North, Hamilton, ON  L8L 8J1
Phone: 905-528-5640
Hours of operation: 8:30 am to 1:30 pm
Provides drop-in services, breakfast and lunch

City of Hamilton Recreation Centres
All locations
Hours of operation: Business hours vary 

De Dwa Da Dehs Nye>s Indigenous Housing Services
Provides a heating station during a cold alert to both indigenous and non-indigenous peoples.
20 Kenilworth Avenue North, Hamilton, ON L8H 4R3
Phone: 905-544-4320
Hours of operation: Monday to Thursday 9 am to 3:30 pm

Carol Annes Place - YWCA (Women Only)
75 MacNab Street South, Hamilton, Ontario L8P 3C1
Phone: 905-517-9326 (phones answered between 10 pm and 12 noon)
Hours of operation: 10 pm to 8 am
Overnight access for women, open 7 days a week. Limited capacity. First come, first served.


Hamilton Out of the Cold
St. Mary's Church

56 Mulberry Street, Hamilton, Ontario L8R 2C7
Hours of operation: Dinner served from 4 to 5:30 pm

Hamilton Out of the Cold
St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church

280 Melvin Avenue, Hamilton, Ontario  L8H 2K2
Hours of operation: Dinner served from 4 to 5:30 pm

Hamilton Public Library
Central Branch
55 York Boulevard, Hamilton, Ontario  L8N 4E4
Hours of operation: 9 am to 9 pm


Mental Health Rights Coalition
Provides peer support, drop-in, access to telephones and computers
100 Main Street East, Hamilton, Ontario  
Phone: 905-545-2525
Hours of operation: 11 am to 4 pm

Mission Services Willow’s Place (Women only)
196 Wentworth Street North, Hamilton, Ontario
Phone: 905-528-5100 Ext 1200
Hours of operation: 9 am to 8:30 pm

Notre Dame Community Resource Centre
14 Cannon Street West, Hamilton, Ontario L8R 2B3
Phone: 905-308-8090
Hours of operation: 10:30 am to 6:30 pm
Open to youth 16 to 21 yrs.


Seniors Drop in Support Centre St. Matthew's House
460 Wentworth Street North, Hamilton, Ontario  L8L 5W8
Hours of operation:  9 am to 3:30 pm
During Cold Alerts the centre is open for meals and programs. Open to seniors 55+.

Wesley Day Centre
195 Ferguson Avenue North, Hamilton, ON  L8L 8J1
Phone: 905-528-5640
Hours of operation: 8:30 am to 1:30 pm
Provides drop-in services, breakfast and lunch

Carol Annes Place - YWCA (Women Only)
75 MacNab Street South, Hamilton, Ontario L8P 3C1
Phone: 905-517-9326 (phones answered between 10 pm and 12 noon)
Hours of operation: 10 pm to 8 am
Overnight access for women, open 7 days a week. Limited capacity. First come, first served.

City of Hamilton Recreation Centres
All Locations
Hours of Operation: Business hours vary 

De Dwa Da Dehs Nye>s Indigenous Housing Services
Provides a heating station during a cold alert to both indigenous and non-indigenous peoples.
20 Kenilworth Avenue North, Hamilton, ON L8H 4R3
Phone: 905-544-4320
Hours of operation: Monday to Thursday 9 am to 3:30 pm


Hamilton Out of the Cold
Erskine Presbyterian Church

19 Pearl Street North, Hamilton, Ontario L8R 2Y6
Hours of operation: Dinner served from 4 to 5:30 pm

Hamilton Out of the Cold
St. Stephen on the Mount

625 Concession Street, Hamilton, Ontario   L8V 1B7
Hours of operation: Dinner is served at 5:00 pm

Hamilton Public Library
Central Branch

55 York Boulevard, Hamilton, Ontario  L8N 4E4
Hours of operation: 9 am to 9 pm


Mental Health Rights Coalition
Provides peer support, drop-in, access to telephones and computers
100 Main Sreet East, Hamilton, Ontario  
Phone: 905-545-2525
Hours of operation: 11 am to 4 pm

Mission Services Willow’s Place (Women only)
196 Wentworth Street North, Hamilton, Ontario
Phone: 905-528-5100 Ext 1200
Hours of operation: 9 am to 8:30 pm

Notre Dame Community Resource Centre
14 Cannon Street West, Hamilton, Ontario L8R 2B3
Phone: 905-308-8090
Hours of operation: 10:30 am to 6:30 pm
Open to youth 16 to 21 yrs.


Seniors Drop in Support Centre St. Matthew's House
460 Wentworth Street North, Hamilton, Ontario  L8L 5W8
Hours of operation:  9 am to 3:30 pm
During Cold Alerts the centre is open for meals and programs. Open to seniors 55+.

Wesley Day Centre
195 Ferguson Avenue North, Hamilton, ON  L8L 8J1
Phone: 905-528-5640
Hours of operation: 8:30 am to 1:30 pm
Provides drop-in services, breakfast and lunch

Carol Annes Place - YWCA (Women Only)
75 MacNab Street South, Hamilton, Ontario L8P 3C1
Phone: 905-517-9326 (phones answered between 10 pm and 12 noon)
Hours of operation: 10 pm to 8 am
Overnight access for women, open 7 days a week. Limited capacity. First come, first served.

City of Hamilton Recreation Centres
All Locations
Hours of operation: Business hours vary 

De Dwa Da Dehs Nye>s Indigenous Housing Services
Provides a heating station during a cold alert to both indigenous and non-indigenous peoples.
20 Kenilworth Avenue North, Hamilton, ON L8H 4R3
Phone: 905-544-4320
Hours of operation: Monday to Thursday 9 am to 3:30 pm.


Hamilton Out of the Cold
Central Presbyterian Church

165 Charlton Avenue West, Hamilton, Ontario  L8P 2C8
Hours of operation: Dinner served from 4 to 5:30 pm

Hamilton Public Library
Central Branch

55 York Boulevard, Hamilton, Ontario  L8N 4E4
Hours of operation: 9 am to 9 pm

Mental Health Rights Coalition
Provides peer support, drop-in, access to telephones and computers
100 Main Street East, Hamilton, Ontario  
Phone: 905-545-2525
Hours of operation: 11 am to 4 pm


Mission Services Willow’s Place (Women only)
196 Wentworth Street North, Hamilton, Ontario
Phone: 905-528-5100 Ext 1200
Hours of operation: 9 am to 8:30 pm

Notre Dame Community Resource Centre
14 Cannon Street West, Hamilton, Ontario L8R 2B3
Phone: 905-308-8090
Hours of operation: 10:30 am to 6:30 pm
Open to youth 16 to 21 yrs.

Seniors Drop in Support Centre St. Matthew's House
460 Wentworth Street North, Hamilton, Ontario  L8L 5W8
Hours of operation:  9 am to 3:30 pm
During Cold Alerts the centre is open for meals and programs. Open to seniors 55+.


Wesley Day Centre
195 Ferguson Avenue North, Hamilton, ON  L8L 8J1
Phone: 905-528-5640
Hours of operation: 8:30 am to 1:30 pm
Provides drop-in services, breakfast and lunch

Carol Annes Place - YWCA (Women Only)
75 MacNab Street South, Hamilton, Ontario L8P 3C1
Phone: 905-517-9326 (phones answered between 10 pm and 12 noon)
Hours of operation: 10 pm to 8 am
Overnight access for women, open 7 days a week. Limited capacity. First come, first served.

City of Hamilton Recreation Centres
All Locations
Time: Business hours vary 

Hamilton Out of the Cold
Wentworth Baptist Church

120 Wentworth Street North, Hamilton, Ontario  L8L 5V7
Hours of operation: Dinner served from 4 to 5:30 pm


Hamilton Public Library
Central Branch
55 York Boulevard., Hamilton, Ontario  L8N 4E4
Hours of operation: 9 am to 6 pm

Mental Health Rights Coalition
Provides peer support, drop-in, access to telephones and computers
100 Main Street East, Hamilton, Ontario  
Phone: 905-545-2525
Hours of operation: 11 am to 4 pm

Mission Services Willows Place (Women only)
196 Wentworth Street North, Hamilton, Ontario  L8L 5V7
Phone: 905-528-5100 Ext 1200
Hours of operation: 9 am to 8:30 pm


Notre Dame Community Resource Centre
14 Cannon Street West, Hamilton, Ontario L8R 2B3
Phone: 905-308-8090
Hours of operation: 10:30 am to 6:30 pm
Open to youth 16 to 21 yrs.

Seniors Drop in Support Centre St. Matthew's House
460 Wentworth Street North, Hamilton, Ontario  L8L 5W8
Hours of operation:  9 am to 3:30 pm
During Cold Alerts the centre is open for meals and programs. Open to seniors 55+.

Wesley Day Centre
195 Ferguson Avenue North, Hamilton, ON  L8L 8J1
Phone: 905-528-5640
Hours of operation: 8:30 am to 1:30 pm
Provides drop-in services, breakfast and lunch

Carol Annes Place - YWCA (Women Only)
75 MacNab Street South, Hamilton, Ontario L8P 3C1
Phone: 905-517-9326 (phones answered between 10 pm and 12 noon)
Hours of operation: 10 pm to 8 am
Overnight access for women, open 7 days a week. Limited capacity. First come, first served.

City of Hamilton Recreation Centres
All Locations
Time: Business hours vary 

Hamilton Out of the Cold
MacNab Presbyterian Church

116 MacNab Street South, Hamilton, Ontario  L8P 3C3
Hours of operation: Dinner served from 4 to 5:30 pm


Hamilton Public Library
Central Branch

55 York Boulevard, Hamilton, Ontario  L8N 4E4
Hours of operation: 9 am to 5 pm

Mission Services Willow’s Place (Women only)
196 Wentworth Street North, Hamilton, Ontario
Phone: 905-528-5100 Ext 1200
Hours of operation: 9 am to 9 pm

Notre Dame Community Resource Centre
14 Cannon Street West, Hamilton, Ontario L8R 2B3
Phone: 905-308-8090
Hours of operation: 10:30 am to 6:30 pm
Open to youth 16 to 21 yrs.


Wesley Day Centre
195 Ferguson Avenue North, Hamilton, ON  L8L 8J1
Phone: 905-528-5640
Hours of operation: 8:30 am to 1:30 pm
Provides drop-in services, breakfast and lunch

Carol Annes Place - YWCA (Women Only)
75 MacNab Street South, Hamilton, Ontario L8P 3C1
Phone: 905-517-9326 (phones answered between 10 pm and 12 noon)
Hours of operation: 10 pm to 8 am
Overnight access for women, open 7 days a week. Limited capacity. First come, first served.

City of Hamilton Recreation Centres
All Locations
Time: Business hours vary 

Hamilton Public Library
Central Branch

55 York Boulevard, Hamilton, Ontario  L8N 4E4
Hours of operation: 1 to 5 pm


Mission Services Willow’s Place (Women only)
196 Wentworth Street North, Hamilton, Ontario
Phone: 905-528-5100 Ext 1200
Hours of operation: 9 am to 8:30 pm

Notre Dame Community Resource Centre
14 Cannon Street West, Hamilton, Ontario L8R 2B3
Phone: 905-308-8090
Hours of operation: 10:30 am to 6:30 pm
Open to youth 16 to 21 yrs.

Wesley Day Centre
195 Ferguson Avenue North, Hamilton, ON  L8L 8J1
Phone: 905-528-5640
Hours of operation: 1 to 6 pm
Provides drop-in services, breakfast and lunch

 

Cold-related illnesses & health effects from cold weather

Having certain medical conditions such as diabetes, taking some prescription drugs or drinking alcohol will increase your risk of cold temperature related health issues like frostbite and hypothermia.

Frostbite happens when skin and other tissues are damaged due to freezing. Frostbite usually occurs on fingers, toes, earlobes, nose or your face. 

Signs of frostbite or frostnip (the first stage of frostbite) include:

  • White skin that has a “wooden feeling”
  • Numbness in the affected area such as fingertips

If you see these signs, get inside to a warm place.

The risk of frostbite relates to temperature and wind on exposed skin. When the temperature is above -28°C, there is a low risk of frostbite.

Hypothermia is where your body’s core temperature drops below what is needed for normal body function. Normal body core temperature is around 37°C. 

Hypothermia affects muscle function and the ability to think clearly. Symptoms include stumbling, mumbling, fumbling and grumbling. 

Factors that can contribute to hypothermia include:

  • Cold temperatures
  • Clothes that do not fit properly
  • Damp or wet clothing
  • Fatigue or exhaustion
  • Insufficient food intake
  • Alcohol intake
  • Some medications

Most people can safely tolerate mild hypothermia, where the body temperature drops to 32° to 35°C. There is a 21% chance of death if you have moderate hypothermia, where the core body temperature is 29° to 32°C. A body core temperature of 28°C or less is severe hypothermia and death occurs within a short period.

It is possible to get hypothermia at temperatures warmer than -15°C. Hypothermia at higher temperatures is usually related to sports or accidents such as getting lost while hiking where there is not enough food or adequate overnight clothing.