Community’s Extended Winter Response Plan For Vulnerable Londoners Now Underway

Agency leaders credit collaboration for progress and ask community members for their help with winter specific donations and supports

LONDON, ON - December 7th, 2022 | London Cares, in partnership with Unity Project, Atlohsa Family Healing Services, The Salvation Army Centre of Hope, Ark Aid, Canadian Mental Health Association-Coffee House, Safe Space, and 519 Pursuit have launched their expanded and coordinated winter response for London’s housing deprived and marginalized  population. Food, showers, laundry and other essential services as well as 24/7 drop in spaces are now open in various locations across the city.

London Cares Executive Director, Anne Armstrong, credits expedited city funding approvals and cross-sector partnerships as key to ramping up enhanced winter response on time.

“We’ve all agreed that we have to do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to keep our community’s most marginalized safe and sheltered during the harsh winter months. Hiring this many people this quickly in our sector is always a challenge and the extra runway to hire staff and coordinate extensively with our partners to get it done was key,” she concluded. 

The new cross-agency effort will help ensure  more support and better access for marginalized Londoners, keeping them safer and sheltered as much as possible during the winter. The coordinated solution is built upon actions already underway by multiple agencies, including encampment support and outreach, cultural safety, trauma informed and harm reduction training for outreach workers, outreach coordination to reach more folks and identify resource gaps, and the provision of everyday resources and hygiene essentials – from food and water to showers and laundry.

Elements of winter response build on current resources with enhancements including more dedicated indoor spaces, a coordinated approach to orientation and training, and an overall approach to ensure a consistent standard of care. Available temporary shelter options will include some spaces for couples and pets, for women and non-binary individuals, for Indigenous community members, as well as daytime and overnight resting and drop-in spaces and plans to activate additional resources for cold weather alert periods. Details on additional Indigenous-led winter response activities will be released soon.

Beth Mitchell, Co-CEO CMHA Thames Valley Mental Health and Addictions Services also credits increased city funding and agency coordination for the expanded response. 

“Winter is an incredibly difficult time for Londoners who are unsheltered, especially for those living with mental health or addiction concerns. We are pleased to be able to offer extended evening hours at the London Coffee House this winter, thanks to a partnership with the City of London’s Winter Response Plan. These extended hours will augment our regular daytime hours of operation, which are funded by the United Way,” said Mitchell.

The new plan and funding come at a pivotal time, with continued growth in London’s unhoused population, and efforts well underway to  bring together healthcare and emergency services, social services providers, business and land and housing developers, to map a new whole of community system response to the crisis. That work continues in December and January with two additional system planning meetings scheduled.

Sarah Collins, Program Director, The Salvation Army London Centre of Hope agrees that collaboration is the critical factor in  increased service levels.

“The work of the winter response Action and Accountability Group has seen wonderful collaboration among many community partners, coming together to ensure that we have a robust Winter Response for the cold months ahead,”  said Collins. “I look forward to working alongside all of the community partners involved in the Winter Response over the next many months as we seek to support and connect with those in the community facing homelessness.”

With an anticipated additional 56 spaces being activated during cold weather alerts this season, the enhanced community wide winter response is aiming to support nearly 400 individuals experiencing homelessness each day.

“We’re thrilled to see our community organizing in a way that sends a clear message that everyone matters - including our unhoused populations. The commitment of so many teams and individuals doing the frontline work across the community as a team is very encouraging and bodes well for our collective ability to build a long-term system response to this crisis,” said Kevin Dickins, Deputy City Manager, Social and Health Development.

How the community can help

Organizations and individuals interested in contributing to the community-led response to support individuals experiencing homelessness are encouraged to connect with London Cares for specific donation essentials that outreach teams will be identifying in real time.

Majority of response live first week of December

Winter Response Locations, Start Dates, Hours & Essential Services

Food, showers, laundry, & essential services


Start Date



Ark Aid (First Baptist Church, 568 Richmond St.)


December 1

Drop in daily, 10am-9pm

Food, basic needs, bathrooms, showers, various community services on site.

Ark Aid (696 Dundas St.)


December 19

Drop in daily, 4pm-9pm

Food, bathrooms, showers, limited laundry

London Cares Community Hub (602 Queens Ave.)


Early January


Food (St. Joe’s Café), basic needs, bathrooms, showers, laundry, various community services on site.

CMHA Coffee House (371 Hamilton Rd.)


December 1

Drop in daily 9am-8:30pm

Food, basic needs, bathrooms, laundry, harm reduction, phone/internet, connection to supports, and door service.

The Salvation Army Centre of Hope (281 Wellington St.)


December 5

Drop in Mon/Wed/Fri from 8:30am-11:30am



24/7 Drop in Spaces


Start Date



London Cares Resting Space (717 Dundas St.)


December 17

Daily day space: 10:30am-3:30pm; daily overnight space: 10pm-9:30am


Resting space, basic needs, bathrooms, showers, snacks, harm reduction.

The Salvation Army Centre of Hope (281 Wellington St.) – Women’s Beds


December 5

24 hours

Shelter beds (2pm booking time at Centre of Hope)

Ark Aid

Referral to space by calling



December 1

Daily from 10pm-8:30am

Resting space

Ark Aid (696 Dundas St.)


December 19

Daily from 10pm-8:30am

Resting space, short term


For more information please contact: Anne Armstrong Executive Director, London Cares 519.494.0723


Last modified:Wednesday, December 07, 2022