July 24, 2006
Media Release

York Region is a hot place to live

Street Outreach helps homeless individuals cope with the summer heat
NEWMARKET Although summer is a welcomed treat after the cold winter, it can pose serious health risks such as dehydration, heat stroke and asthma attacks on extremely hot and smoggy days.  These negative aspects of summer can affect us all, but they are especially hard on those who do not have adequate housing as a means to escape the heat.
The York Region Street Outreach is a mobile service designed to help individuals living on the street.  The van travels across the Region Monday through Thursday, 2:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Friday,
10 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.   It is staffed by a York Region public health nurse and a mental health professional from Crosslinks Housing and Supportive Services.  Together, they provide basic and potentially life-saving interventions to people who are homeless, at risk of homelessness, seriously mentally ill or street involved.  
In 2005, the number of new clients who received assistance through the York Region Street Outreach Services was 723, bringing the total number of outreach contacts for the year to 1527.  
All year long, people in need of help can obtain mental health and nursing assessment and care, referral to resources, help finding shelter, food, clothing, sleeping bags, condoms and needle exchange.   During the summer months, they can also receive cold water, fruit juices, insect repellent and suggestions on how to stay cool. These supportive services are confidential and are offered in a non-intrusive, non-judgemental manner. 
The reasons for homelessness can vary losing a job, escaping an abusive relationship, experiencing a mental illness, coping with an addiction, or dealing with some other issue.  Whatever the circumstances, the staff who work on the van are there to help.
To access the Street Outreach van services, please call toll-free 1-866-553-4053.
For more information on this or other health-related questions, contact York Region Health Services Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653 or visit www.york.ca
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Media Contact: Jennifer Mitchell-Emmerson, York Region Health Services
 Phone:  (905) 830-4444, ext. 4016 or After-hours Pager (905) 830-3302
 Email: jennifer.mitchellemmerson@york.ca

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