360°kids Response To The Winter Weather and Homelessness During The Pandemic

360°kids Response To The Winter Weather and Homelessness During The Pandemic

On any given night there are  300 youth across York Region who don’t have a safe place to sleep. As we move into the colder months this puts youth not only in a dangerous situation but a life threatening one.

That’s why, we at 360°kids are working in partnership with York Region to implement a protocol for getting youth off the streets and into a warm place to sleep when extreme weather conditions happen. Here is how it will look:

York Region will issue a “Cold Weather Alert” on any day where the temperature is expected to be at or below -15° (this will take into consideration wind chill effect also).  Due to Covid-19, there will not be warming centres in any York Region municipality, so we have planned and prepared to see an influx in numbers of those in need of shelter this winter.

We as an organization will do our best to assist youth in accessing the extra beds made available on Cold Weather alert days, or the two hotels in York Region that have kindly offered up any vacant rooms they have on the days an alert gets called.

If someone (youth, adult or couples) calls or appears at the doors of any of our 360°kid facilities looking for somewhere to stay on one of the Cold Weather Alert days, here is the plan that has been put in place:

  1. Help a youth reach out to family and/ or friends that they could stay with for the night
  2. Assist the youth with calling the Transitional Intake Line at 1-877-464-9675 extension 76140
    • If the line is busy, or we are unable to get through, we will also assist in emailing line@york.ca and someone will reach out. This email is monitored in real time
  3. The Transitional Intake Worker who receives the call will speak to the youth in need of shelter (or our 360°kids staff if we are the ones making the call) to obtain personal information
  4. Once the Transitional Intake Worker determines where their is availability, the Transitional Intake Worker will call a taxi and the individual will be picked up and transported to their warm bed for the night
  5. We will provide youth in need to wait in the vestibule area of our 360°kids facilities while waiting for the cab (or at Home Base if it is open/staffed). Hot drinks will be readily available to aid in keeping individuals warm while they wait (coffee, tea, or hot chocolate as well as hats, scarves, and gloves for those in need

*Please note, Families with children will need to go through Leeder Place instead of the Transitional Intake Line, they can be reached at 905-898-1015 extension 2

As this is the first year with the added challenge of Covid-19 precautions, we will also be providing feedback to the Region to ensure we can pivot and adjust as needed to best support the youth in our community.

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