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Winter Resource Guide

This guide provides resources for homeless youth such as emergency shelters, food services, warming centres, and tips to survive winter.

Photo by Elijah Chen on Unsplash


Did you know about 922 homeless people are residing in Peel but only about 50% can stay in a shelter or affordable housing? The others usually find shelter either at someone's house or in public spaces. Among those 922 individuals surveyed about 23% were youth. Being young and living on the streets during the pandemic is a harsh reality for many local youth. In many cases, shelters are either full or unsafe to be in - especially if you are alone.


During harsh Canadian winters, survival is particularly difficult for individuals facing homelessness. Due to the higher risk of hypothermia and injury or death, Toronto issues extreme cold weather alerts when temperatures fall below -15C. Toronto also opens up more warming facilities to serve the community’s needs. Look out for Extreme Cold Weather responses on the City of Toronto’s website: http://bit.ly/3tqTGER


Finding a warm place to sleep at night is also very important. Many emergency shelters have opened up this year with adherence to Covid-19 protocols to better serve those facing homelessness in our community. REST’s primary long-term goal is to help eradicate homelessness for youth in Peel Region by providing resources such as rent subsidies and access to housing. Vulnerable youth facing homelessness and requiring further emotional or financial support can contact us at info@restcentres.org or 905-863-1118. This guide will provide vulnerable individuals in Peel Region with up-to-date emergency resources to make winter more bearable this year.


Emergency Shelters.

- Toronto’s 2020/2021 winter service plan includes opening about 620 shelters along with hotel rooms for families and housing units. To be referred to an emergency shelter, 24-hour respite site, or the hotel rooms (available from November to April) call central intake at 1-877-338-3398 or 416-338-4766

- Check out the Out of the Cold program that provides basic needs of shelter, food, and warm clothes during this cold season. Here is a list of locations in Toronto: https://outofthecold.org/find-a-location/.

- For people waiting on test results or tested positive for Covid-19, the city is also providing isolation and recovery sites. You must call the Hotline at 416-338-7600 to complete an eligibility assessment. You will receive free access to a comfortable and safe room along with Wi-Fi, a landline phone, television, and three meals and two snacks a day. http://bit.ly/3rqwOTT


Food Services, Personal Care, Clothing, and Household items.


Regeneration Outreach Community, 156 Main Street N, Brampton provides hot meals that will be served in takeout containers due to Covid-19:

- Breakfast: 7 days a week from 8:00AM to 9:30AM

- Lunch: Monday to Thursday from 11:30AM to 12:30PM

- Extended hours for Personal Care (Showers and Laundry): Monday to Friday from 7:00AM to 5:00PM

- Also, they have an Emergency Food Bank: Food Bank services by appointment, please contact by email: marketplace@regenbrampton.com or by phone, 905-796-5888 ext. 108.


Ste Louise Outreach Centre of Peel, 32 Haggert Ave N, Brampton, ON

- items available: food (perishable and non-perishable – fresh/canned/frozen), beverages (milk, juice, ensure, coffee, tea, hot chocolate), personal products (shampoo, soap, razors, toilet paper and more), cleaning products (laundry soap, dish soap, etc.), baby items (formula, diapers, blankets, clothes, strollers, and toys), miscellaneous items (books, pictures, household items, linens), back to school packages in August and September, clothes (all year)

- For assistance, submit paperwork via email to stelouisefoodbank85@hotmail.com or call 905-454-2144. Volunteers will process orders and notify when it is ready for pick up and must bring their own bags.

- Available Tuesday and Thursdays 10 am-1 pm and Saturdays 10:30 am-2 pm


Help Line.

- For community and social service issues such as, financial assistance, food, and employment, Ontario has a dedicated helpline and online database. Dial 2-1-1 or go to 211ontario.ca. It is free, confidential, and they are available 24/7. They also speak 150+ languages to help assist everyone.

Warming Centres.

- Here is an interactive map with warming centres in Toronto: http://bit.ly/3twZxYX. A lot of these places also provide food, water, and a place to rest. They also can provide referrals to emergency shelters. All of the warming centres adhere to all Covid-19 protocols

Tips for staying warm.

- Wool is a great material for keeping out the cold. You can even cut up wool material and put it into your socks and shoes to keep your feet warm.


- Layering is important. Multiple light jackets can be better than one bulky coat because it will dry faster and you can add/take off when needed.


- Feet and hand usually frostbite the quickest. Try to find hand warmers or fill up a water bottle with hot water to keep your hands warm. If you can’t get either of those, wool is an excellent material for keeping warm. You can even cut up wool material and put it into your socks and gloves to keep you warm.


- Foam, newspaper, cardboard, and blankets can be excellent insulation between clothing layers during the winter.


- Eating a hot meal before sleeping can be a great way to keep your body warm during the night. Fattier foods are better at keeping you warm.

- Exercise before bed can keep you warm as well. Try running around or doing a couple of jumping jacks right before you sleep to stay warm throughout the night.

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