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Warming Centre will stay open every day until March 31st

Residents seeking shelter from the cold this winter will be able to Access the HUB on Vine street every night from now until March 31st. Jennifer Bonner, the manager of the Hub warming centre on Vine Street announced that the city has agreed to pay for the centre to be open every night until March 31st, regardless of cold alerts. In a tweet she wrote.

“@TheHubHamilton  is overjoyed to announce that the @cityofhamilton  has agreed to keep our centre open every night until March 31st regardless of cold alerts. This much needed support to our friends with no homes would not have been possible without all of you!

We thank @cityofhamilton, @AndreaHorwath @CameronKroetsch  and other council members for their recognition of this need and the push to get this done as soon as possible. They have also recognized that there is still much more work to be done as we move into the new year. As we end this year with positive news we want to honour the many friends we have lost this year and ensure we don’t stop fighting for the needs of our service users. There is nothing more powerful than the voice of a community that cares!!”

The news comes after the city was criticized for being caught flat-footed, during and following the severe weather event on December 23rd. On the 23rd, those seeking shelter had to brave six hours of extreme weather as warming centres at city rec centres closed at 4 and the Hub was not to open until 10 PM, Then on Christmas Eve, temperatures inched just above the -15C threshold for declaring a cold alert, which would have closed the HUB, as part of its contract with the City that is tied to cold alerts.

Mayor Horwath has called for a review of the city’s cold weather polices in the new year.

The city’s director of housing services, Michelle Baird told the Hamilton Spectator that the city will be working  to improve the shelter system on statutory holidays and in weather events where the city’s recreation centres are closed. The plan is to seek support from city organizations that might have space available that could be used as warming centres.

Over New Years, in addition to the HUB being available for overnight warming, the Central Memorial Recreation Centre on West Avenue South will be open until 10 p.m. on Dec. 31 and from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. on Jan. 1 and 2.  

Organizations that can serve as a warming centre are asked to email housing@hamilton.ca to connect with city staff.

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