An outreach van in Sudbury will spend more time on the road this winter.
The service offers rides, blankets and clothing to vulnerable and homeless people across the city on cold nights, and has been in high demand this year.
Traditionally the outreach van has only run overnight. But over the last two weeks, the city extended the hours. The van now runs from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. during cold weather.
"If you're out there extended periods of time, you could hypothermia. It can get bad quickly,” said Megan O'Byrne, an outreach worker and often drives the van.
“I think the city realizes somebody can lose a limb from being outside too long."
During the first week of extended hours, the van made more than 100 contacts.
"We've seen people in -15 C [to] -20 C weather walking. We're just there to make sure they don't get frostbite,” O’Byrne said.
The service also connected with more than 1,000 people throughout January.
Lise Senecal, an outreach worker in the city, said this demand highlights the need for more services, especially for people with addiction issues.
Sudbury needs a wet shelter, she said.
"Our staff is not equipped to deal with that. With a wet shelter, there are people who are equipped to deal with those issues."
The city is expected to make an announcement about services for the homeless this week, after receiving a report last week on what additional services Sudbury could provide for the homeless.