The City of Orlando’s Downtown Development Board/Community Redevelopment Agency has just announced a new “enhanced” Downtown Ambassador Program that includes new training for working with people experiencing homelessness.
The Downtown Ambassador Program was launched in 2018 to provide on-the-street service for visitors and residents between the hours of 7 a.m.-11 p.m., in part to help visitors navigate the downtown core during larger events but also to help connect “… the most vulnerable individuals to critical social services and curbing aggressive panhandling” – read, “working with homeless people.”
The new blue-clad squad of 22 Downtown Ambassadors will now provide additional services outside of their original scope, specifically for homeless individuals, including:
- Resource Connection – Downtown Ambassadors partner with local service providers who can assist those experiencing homelessness with immediate critical social services, such as shelter, identification, and counseling services, as well as handing out information and needed supplies.
- Reunification – Downtown Ambassadors are able to assist those experiencing homelessness and reconnect them with friends and family by means of providing transportation, whether that is through a bus ticket, train ticket, or other immediate modes of transportation to help them get housed.
- Recording through Data Collection – Downtown Ambassadors will be utilizing the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) integrated with the Homeless Services Network of Central Florida to help record each encounter and match the individuals’ needs with resources to provide a continuum of care.
Ambassadors will be working closely with the Orlando Police and Fire Departments as well as the Health Care Center for the Homeless HOPE Team to help provide “enhanced public safety assistance.” They will also be working with the Downtown Clean Team to help clean up the streets.
The team will work on foot and by bicycle and can be reached by calling or texting 407-225-4632.