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Ontarians helping homeless stay warm as the province endures extreme cold

The Executive Director of the Ottawa Mission says about 20 spaces have been added to the shelter and frontline staff have increased the amount of times they check in on those on the street.
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As most of Ontario is under an extreme cold weather alert, various groups and shelters are increasing their services to help the homeless stay warm.

As parts of the province see a windchill around -30, Environment Canada says the bitterly cold temperatures can cause frostbite within minutes and those without proper shelter are the most unendurable.

On Saturday night an additional 35 spaces were created at a warming centre in Toronto, but as most homeless shelters are operating at or near capacity, a volunteer group is hoping to assist people on the street that can't or do not want to stay in a shelter.

Jody Steinhauer, executive director of Project Winter Survival, says this year has seen the largest number of requests for survival kits since the project was created about 20 years ago.

She says more than 21,000 kits have been requested — a 60 per cent increase from last year — as there is an increasing need for the food, clothing and hygiene products the kits provide.

Peter Tilley, executive director of the Ottawa Mission, says about 20 spaces have been added to the shelter and frontline staff have increased the amount of times they check in on those on the street.

Experts also say they are continuing to call on the Ontario government to create affordable housing and fund social services to address homelessness in the province.




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