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Here is what the city is doing for those without shelter during Friday night deep freeze

The city is preparing to keep the unhoused safe as freezing temperatures arrive in Ottawa (Jackie Perez/CTV News Ottawa) The city is preparing to keep the unhoused safe as freezing temperatures arrive in Ottawa (Jackie Perez/CTV News Ottawa)
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A snap freeze on Friday night will bring some of the coldest temperatures seen in Ottawa this winter.

Environment Canada says overnight lows will reach -18 C, with wind chill making it feel like -27 C. A frigid Saturday is expected with daytime highs reaching -11 C and a wind chill of -27 C in the morning.

So far this year, the coldest temperature recorded was -18.7 C on Jan. 21.

Warmer temperatures will return on Sunday, where the daytime high is expected to be 1 C and 0 C overnight.

The overnight cold is raising concerns over the danger it poses to those experiencing homelessness.

Shelters such as The Ottawa Mission have been struggling this winter to keep as many people warm as possible.

"We don't have enough beds here; we've got people sleeping in the waiting area," said Ottawa Mission's CEO Peter Tilley during a cold snap last month.

"There's nowhere else for them to go."

The City of Ottawa says it does not plan to open dedicated warming centres, but has expanded its network of services, facilities and supports for the entire winter season.

"The City’s main administration facilities and recreation facilities remain open to the public as warm spaces, if needed," said a statement by Kate Brown, the city's acting manager of homelessness programs and shelters.

"The City continues to provide additional emergency shelter options (the Heron Community Centre, Bernard Grandmaître Arena and Dempsey Community Centre) for those experiencing homelessness to support the additional demands on the community-based shelter system.

"These measures were put in place to ensure that we have capacity for anyone who wants to come indoors during extreme cold and weather events, such as the current one."

Ottawa Public Health provides an interactive map with places to warm up in Ottawa, along with a list of other services for those with specific needs.

"A network of outreach services will continue to engage those individuals sleeping unsheltered, to provide supplies, such as cold weather gear, and connect to emergency shelter facilities as needed," Brown said.

"Our winter response is an expansion of the network of services and supports that have been operating prior to or since the beginning of the pandemic. We continue to work closely with partners to expand services and ensure everyone is aware of the processes to access these supports."

The city launched a new task force last year to address emergency shelter usage in the capital, as officials warned the shelter system would be "overwhelmed" this winter.

There are nearly 280 people currently homeless in Ottawa, according to the city.

Any resident wishing to request a shelter placement can call 3-1-1 anytime of day or night. Residents who sees someone sleeping unsheltered that they believe may need assistance can call 3-1-1 and ask that the Salvation Army Outreach Van visit the individual or call 9-1-1.

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