Caring for our city’s most vulnerable becomes especially critical in extreme weather conditions.
In 2019, City Council approved a new policy that formalizes and clarifies the City’s role in the system-wide response to supporting vulnerable Edmontonians during extreme weather conditions.
The City actively participates in the Winter Emergency Response program convened by Homeward Trust. Homeward Trust, the City and community partners work together to determine when it’s appropriate to activate the City’s extreme weather protocol.
When the extreme weather protocol is activated, individuals seeking shelter are encouraged to seek shelter at existing facilities. Space at Commonwealth Community Recreation centre will be made available for overnight shelter and can accommodate people with disabilities, pets, women, youth, and others who may experience challenges accessing traditional shelters.
- Hours of operation are from 10pm to 7am (intake at Commonwealth will not begin until 10pm)
- The Boyle Street Winter Warming bus extends its hours to operate from 9pm to 11pm to take individuals to shelters
- Between 11pm to 7am, Edmonton Transit Service runs a dedicated bus, free of charge, between shelters and select transit centres
- Storage is provided for individuals to store their belongings at the shelter
- The space is monitored, managed and patrolled by peace officers to ensure it is safe and welcoming to those in need
- The public will not have access to the portion of the facility space being used to provide overnight shelter
- Three days’ notice is given before the space is deactivated
They take into account Environment Canada weather warnings, existing capacity of Edmonton’s emergency shelter system and emerging concerns expressed by individuals at the drop-in centres.
What Citizens Can Do
If you would like to make a donation, visit the Winter Emergency Response website to find a list of needed items and locations for drop off. Please note that Commonwealth Recreation Centre overnight shelter space, when activated, does not accept donations.
Other ways people can help are to:
- Learn to recognize the signs of hypothermia: uncontrollable shivering, drowsiness or exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, or slurred speech; and a person with severe hypothermia may be unconscious and may not seem to have a pulse or to be breathing.
- Call 911 for someone in serious distress or in cases of emergency.
- Call 211, 24/7 Crisis Diversion for non-emergency support for shelter, intoxication and mental health.
Our quick reference has steps you can take to help someone during the winter months.