Winter Emergency

What is Winter Emergency Response (WER)?

As the temperature drops in Edmonton, service providers, agencies, and community organizations from across the city coordinate efforts and work in partnership to ensure the most vulnerable people in our community are properly supported. Transportation, outreach, drop-ins, and basic needs services are coordinated and/or expanded to ensure everyone has a warm place to stay from November 1st to April 30th.

This response is coordinated by the Winter Emergency Response Committee (WER Committee), who meet throughout the year to identify trends, challenges, and solutions. Homeward Trust operates as the administrator of this committee and supports the extension of drop-in hours at four locations around Edmonton:

  • Boyle Street Community Services (downtown)
  • Jasper Place Wellness Centre (west)
  • Mosaic Centre (north)
  • The Neighbour Centre (south)



Each year, the WER Committee puts together a resource guide, known as the WER Guide, that outlines support and services available to people who may need access during the harsh winter months. This year the WER Committee is working in partnership with 211 Alberta – Edmonton and Area, to ensure the timely transfer of agency information and updates, which become especially important for those seeking support during extreme cold weather. Check the latest version of the WER Guide or dial 2-1-1 for information on services.

The WER Committee also develops a protocol on how to properly respond to extreme cold weather in the city. The Winter Emergency Response: Extreme Weather Protocol ensures that individuals who connect to program are properly supported when connecting with and moving between agencies other services.


Download the latest version of the WER Guide here: 

Winter Emergency Response Guide 2017-2018 v1.10

You can help support and raise awareness for the Winter Emergency Response in many ways:

  • If you see someone at-risk of experiencing crisis, please call 2-1-1 and connect with 24/7 Crisis Diversion.
  • If you see someone experiencing an emergency, please dial 9-1-1.
  • While smaller shelters tend to fill up quickly, Hope Mission offers 24/7 shelter and has had room the entire winter season. You can find more information regarding shelter usage in Edmonton by referring to the WER Guide or calling 2-1-1.
  • Local agencies are always looking for donations. These can include monetary contributions, as well as winter clothing, hygiene products, underwear and socks, and other supplies. For more information on how to help, look for a local agency in the WER Guide and call ahead. Staff on-site will know exactly what they need to best support those in our community.
  • Share the WER Guide and WER Protocol on your online platforms, as well as with local agencies/businesses. Let people know that there are supports out there for those who are vulnerable!

If you have questions about the Winter Emergency Response program, or would like to know how to get involved, please call Homeward Trust at 780-702-5267 and ask to speak to Matt Ward or email

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