Volume 93, Issue 61

Wednesday, January 19, 2000


Provincewide intern program renewed

USC to vote on type of campaign

Fraternity falls victim to prank

Another hand reaches to government pockets

Freezing temperatures a danger for homeless

Super computer grows at U of A


Bass Ackwards

Caught on campus

Freezing temperatures a danger for homeless

By Lisa Whitaker
Gazette Writer

Starting tomorrow, the London-Middlesex Health Unit will be offering temperature information to insure homeless Londoners will not be left out in the deep freeze.

Jim Reffle, director of environmental health with the London-Middlesex Health Unit, said the group will send out cold weather alerts to area shelters whenever the temperature drops below 15 degrees Celsius.

"It will be a way to provide a little extra heads up for the centres around London," he said. "Centres will know when to add a few extra beds to cover for the temperature change."

Reffle added it would not be a costly process since it is simply part of the day-to-day activity of the unit. "It doesn't cost much to send off a few emails to alert centres." He said it would also help make the general public aware of the plight of the homeless.

Members of the community may now be more willing to donate to shelters, he said, adding the alerts would also provide an important service to elementary schools who need to determine whether or not to let students out for recess.

Tracey Frizell, media relations officer with the London Police, said the police would take full advantage of the information.

"London Police would be notified by the London-Middlesex Health Unit once it hits freezing temperatures and then officers would be on the lookout for homeless persons who might suffer from the cold weather.

"Right now if we see anyone, we can't force them to get to a shelter, but we certainly try to do it."

Frizell said the police have a good program and an informal policy where officers try to help the homeless get out of the cold during severe weather warnings.

With 21 zones in the city, the police are able to cover the entire area and look out for homeless individuals who might fall victim to severe weather trauma, she said.

Maj. Marshall Phinney, a director for the London Salvation Army, said there has been no major increase in the use of the organiztion's facilities since the cold spell hit, but added people are continuing to use the shelters for warmth.

He added although the shelter has a maximum capacity of 95 beds, it would accommodate anyone who needs help.

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Copyright The Gazette 2000