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.

This response is broken into 2 different parts:

Outreach Response

Focus on access to safe and warm shelter to those on the street.  
The Salvation Army acts as first contact for this effort and helps 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
  • Arrange and visit people on the street and offer them shelter and support
  • Monitoring shelter space and availability 

If anyone is concerned about an individual on the street, the Salvation Army can be contacted at 905-527-1444 ext. 0.

Community Response

Focus on people living in poor conditions with limited heat.

  • Drop-in programs relax their criteria for participation and may increase hours so people can access a warm place.
  • City of Hamilton Recreation facilities are open during regular business hours for warmth.
  • Recreation staff have shelter information if shelter at is needed.
  • All organizations that serve vulnerable individuals should make contact to make sure they are safe.
  • Check on neighbours who may be at risk to to make sure they have heat

Questions about the Community Cold Response may be directed to 905-546-2424 ext. 4329.

 

City of Hamilton - Municipal Law Enforcement
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 1st to May 31st.  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.
Hours of operation: Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
Phone: 905 546-2782 or after hours 905-546-2489


City of Hamilton - Dental Health Bus
They distribute seasonal supplies such as socks, hats, gloves, thermal mugs, and toiletries.  They also offer needle exchange and condoms for clients upon request.
Hours of operation: The Dental Health Bus has a regular schedule.  


Good Shepherd Centre Staying Home Program
The Staying Home Program provides eviction prevention supports and services to individual adult women, couples and families who are at imminent risk of homelessness.

Eligible women, couples and families will be connected with a Community Housing Worker and a Landlord Tenant Navigator. A wide variety of community based supports are available including, but not limited to:

  • Advocacy aimed at promoting housing stability
  • Support during the eviction process
  • Help in resolving landlord/tenant issues including maintenance issues
  • Shelter diversion
  • Ongoing support

Phone: 289-919-0396


Good Shepherd Family Centre
143 Wentworth St. S., Hamilton, Ontario  L8N 2Z1
Phone: 905-528-5877

Notre Dame House
14 Cannon St W., Hamilton, Ontario L8R 2B2
Phone: 905-308-8090

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

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

Booth Centre Single Men's Hostel
94 York Blvd., Hamilton, Ontario L8R 1R6
Phone: 905-527-1444

Interval House Hamilton
A transition house for battered/abused women and their children. Provides meals, emergency clothing and personal needs, 7 days a week.
630 Sanatorium Rd., Hamilton, Ontario L9C 7S7
Phone: (crisis line) 905-387-8881 (business line) 905-387-9959

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 St N., Hamilton, Ontario L8R 2X5
Phone: 905-523-6277  905-523-8895

Good Shepherd Mary's Place
20 Pearl St. N., 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.
47 East Avenue N., Hamilton, Ontario  L8L 5H4
Phone: 905-522-1501

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

Hamilton offers a number of warm places in the community as drop-in during a cold alert. Please note that warm places vary by day and time. Use the map to search your nearest location, or the drop downs below for specific days.

Search for the nearest community warming place in your neighbourhood

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

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

Hamilton Out of the Cold
MacNab Presbyterian Church

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

Hamilton Out of the Cold
St. Stephen of Hungary Church (* Not Wheelchair Accessible)
130 Barton St. E., Hamilton, Ontario  L8L 2W4
Hours of operation: Dinner served from 4 to 5:30 pm

Hamilton Out of the Cold
Immanuel Christian Reformed Church

61 Mohawk Rd W., Hamilton, Ontario L9C 1V9
Hours of operation: Dinner at 5 pm

Mental Health Rights Coalition
Provides peer support, drop-in, access to telephones and computers
20 Emerald St. S.,Hamilton, Ontario  
Phone: 905-545-2525
Hours of operation: 11 am to 4 pm

Mission Services Women’s Drop-in
196 Wentworth St. N., Hamilton, Ontario
Hours of operation: 10 am to 3 pm
Provides breakfast and lunch

Notre Dame Community Resource Centre
14 Cannon St W., Hamilton, Ontario L8R 2B3
Phone: 905-308-8090
Hours of operation: 10:30 am to 6:30 pm
During Cold Alerts the resource centre is open 24 hours.  Open to youth 16 to 21 yrs. 

St Matthew’s House Seniors Drop-In Centre
460 Wentworth St. N., Hamilton, Ontario  L8L 5W8
Hours of operation:  9 am to 3:30 pm
The centre is open to all ages for meals and programs during a cold alert.

Wesley Day Centre
195 Ferguson Ave. N., Hamilton, ON  L8L 8J1
Phone: 905-528-5640
Hours of operation: 8 am to 4 pm
Provides drop-in services, breakfast and lunch

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

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

Hamilton Out of the Cold
St. Stephen of Hungary Church (*Not Wheelchair Accessible)

130 Barton St. E., Hamilton, Ontario  L8L 2W4
Hours of operation: Dinner served from 4 to 5:30 pm

Hamilton Out of the Cold
St. Mary's Church

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

Mental Health Rights Coalition 
20 Emerald St. S., Hamilton, Ontario  L8N 2V2
Phone: 905-545-2525
Hours of operation: 11 am to 4 pm
Provides peer support, drop-in, access to telephones and computers

Mission Services Women’s Drop-in
196 Wentworth St. N., Hamilton, Ontario L8L 5V7
Time: 10 am to 3 pm
Breakfast and lunch are provided

Notre Dame Community Resource Centre
14 Cannon St W., Hamilton, Ontario L8R 2B3
Phone: 905-308-8090
Hours of operation: 10:30 am to 6:30 pm
During Cold Alerts the resource centre is open 24 hours.  Open to youth 16 to 21 yrs.

St Matthew’s House Seniors Drop-In Centre
460 Wentworth St. N., Hamilton, Ontario L8L 5W8
Hours of operation:  9 am to 3:30 pm
The centre is open to all ages for meals and programs during a cold alert.

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

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

Hamilton Public Library
Central Branch

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

Hamilton Out of the Cold
Erskine Presbyterian Church

19 Pearl St. N., 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 St., Hamilton, Ontario   L8V 1B7
Hours of operation: Dinner is served at 5:00 pm

Mental Health Rights Coalition 
20 Emerald St. S., Hamilton, Ontario  L8N 2V2
Phone: 905-545-2525
Hours of operation: 11 am to 4 pm
Provides peer support, drop-in, access to telephones and computers

Mission Services Women’s Drop-in
196 Wentworth St. N., Hamilton, Ontario  L8L 5V7
Hours of operation: 10 am to 3 pm
Breakfast and lunch are provided

Notre Dame Community Resource Centre
14 Cannon St W., Hamilton, Ontario L8R 2B3
Phone: 905-308-8090
Hours of operation: 10:30 am to 6:30 pm
During Cold Alerts the resource centre is open 24 hours.  Open to youth 16 to 21 yrs.

St Matthew’s House Seniors Drop-In Centre
460 Wentworth St. N., Hamilton, Ontario   L8L 5W8
Hours of operation:  9 am to 3:30 pm
The centre is open to all ages for meals and programs during a cold alert.

Wesley Day Centre
195 Ferguson Ave. N., Hamilton, ON  L8L 8J1
Phone: 905-528-5640
Hours of operation: 8 am to 4 pm
Provides drop-in services, breakfast and lunch

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

Hamilton Public Library
Central Branch

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

Hamilton Out of the Cold
Central Presbyterian Church

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

Mental Health Rights Coalition 
20 Emerald St. S., Hamilton, Ontario  L8N 2V2 
Phone: 905-545-2525
Hours of operation: 11 am to 4 pm
Provides peer support, drop-in, access to telephones and computers

Mission Services Women’s Drop-in
196 Wentworth St. N., Hamilton, Ontario  L8L 5V7
Hours of operation: 10 am to 3 pm
Breakfast and lunch are provided

Notre Dame Community Resource Centre
14 Cannon St W., Hamilton, Ontario L8R 2B3
Phone: 905-308-8090
Hours of operation: 10:30 am to 6:30 pm
During Cold Alerts the resource centre is open 24 hours.  Open to youth 16 to 21 yrs.

St Matthew’s House Seniors Drop-In Centre
460 Wentworth St. N., Hamilton, Ontario  L8L 5W8
Hours of operation:  9 am to 3:30 pm
The centre is open to all ages for meals and programs during a cold alert.

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

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

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

Hamilton Out of the Cold
Wentworth Baptist Church

120 Wentworth St. N., Hamilton, Ontario  L8L 5V7
Hours of operation: Dinner served from 4 to 5:30 pm

Mental Health Rights Coalition 
20 Emerald St. S., Hamilton, Ontario   L8N 2V2
Phone: 905-545-2525
Hours of operation: 11 am to 4 pm
Provides peer support, drop-in, access to telephones and computers

Mission Services Women’s Drop-in
196 Wentworth St. N., Hamilton, Ontario  L8L 5V7
Hours of operation: 10 am to 3 pm
Breakfast and lunch are provided

Notre Dame Community Resource Centre
14 Cannon St W., Hamilton, Ontario L8R 2B3
Phone: 905-308-8090
Hours of operation: 10:30 am to 6:30 pm
During Cold Alerts the resource centre is open 24 hours.  Open to youth 16 to 21 yrs.

St Matthew’s House Seniors Drop-In Centre
460 Wentworth St. N., Hamilton, Ontario  L8L 5W8
Hours of operation:  9 am to 12:30 pm
The centre is open to all ages for meals and programs during a cold alert.

Wesley Day Centre
195 Ferguson Ave. N., Hamilton, ON  L8L 8J1
Phone: 905-528-5640
Hours of operation: 8 am to 4 pm
Provides drop-in services, breakfast and lunch

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

Hamilton Public Library
Central Branch

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

Hamilton Out of the Cold
MacNab Presbyterian Church

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

Notre Dame Community Resource Centre
14 Cannon St W., Hamilton, Ontario L8R 2B3
Phone: 905-308-8090
Hours of operation: 10:30 am to 6:30 pm
During Cold Alerts the resource centre is open 24 hours.  Open to youth 16 to 21 yrs.

Wesley Day Centre
195 Ferguson Ave. N., Hamilton, ON  L8L 8J1
Phone: 905-528-5640
Hours of operation: 8 am to 3 pm
Provides drop-in services, breakfast and lunch

Hamilton Out of the Cold
Christ’s Church Cathedral

252 James St. N., Hamilton, Ontario  L8R 2L3
Hours of operation: Dinner served from 4 to 5:30 pm

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

Hamilton Public Library
Central Branch

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

Notre Dame Community Resource Centre
14 Cannon St W., Hamilton, Ontario L8R 2B3
Phone: 905-308-8090
Hours of operation: 10:30 am to 6:30 pm
During Cold Alerts the resource centre is open 24 hours.  Open to youth 16 to 21 yrs.

Wesley Day Centre
195 Ferguson Ave. N., Hamilton, ON  L8L 8J1
Phone: 905-528-5640
Hours of operation: 12 noon to 6:30 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.