February 4, 2021
The City of Edmonton has activated its extreme weather response to help keep vulnerable Edmontonians safe during the cold weather expected in the coming days.
Edmonton Transit Service will provide service on two dedicated overnight bus routes
(a north loop and a south loop) that travel between emergency shelters, transit centres and several other key locations, to ensure that people who need to access emergency shelters have a way to get there. The service begins tonight, running from 10:30 p.m. to 8 a.m. Anyone can use the service which is free of charge.
Community agency staff will be on board each bus to provide support, including screening community members for COVID-19, providing masks to those who cannot supply their own and determining the most appropriate shelter to meet individual needs.
During this activation, ETS will also continue its standard practice of picking up passengers at most stops when the weather is -20°C and below with windchill. LRT stations will continue to operate during transit service hours only (5:30 a.m. - 2 a.m.).
Although there remain available beds in some shelters and the overall system continues to have capacity, additional shelter spaces are also being added to increase the total number of spaces available. Capacity at Tipinawâw has been increased from 300 to 350. Mustard Seed, which is now operating shelters at CESSCO Warehouse and the Moravian Church, will also open Trinity Lutheran Church as additional overnight shelter space for 40 individuals. Al Rashid Mosque will also provide 72 shelter spaces for the duration of the extreme weather response.
City Administration, Homeward Trust and our community partners will continue to monitor shelter capacity and review options to further increase capacity should it be required.
Sector Emergency Response
The City made the decision to activate its extreme weather response based on consultation with partners in the Sector Emergency Response, a collaboration between the City, Homeward Trust and more than 25 other agencies working together to ensure Edmonton’s most vulnerable people are safe during adverse weather conditions. Environment Canada’s weather forecast and the current capacity within Edmonton’s emergency shelter system were also taken into consideration.
The extreme weather response is expected to remain in effect until Saturday, February 13. We will monitor weather conditions and the need for dedicated overnight bus service during the activation. There will be three days’ notice before the response is deactivated.
If you are concerned about someone outside in the extreme cold, there are steps you can take to help:
- Call 911 for someone in serious distress or in cases of emergency.
- Call 211, press 3 for 24/7 Crisis Diversion non-emergency support for shelter, intoxication and mental health.