Today marks the first official week for the enhanced Downtown Ambassador Program as newly trained Ambassadors will hit the streets in downtown Orlando. The new team is all specially trained with an emphasis on safety and homelessness, particularly in the areas of resource distribution, family reunification and recording data. Donning new bright blue shirts, these 22 Downtown Ambassadors, in addition to providing information and services to visitors and downtown workers, will now also provide a number of services that align with their specialized training:
- 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 direct interactions by 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.
In 2018, the Downtown Ambassador Program was developed as a result of the DTOutlook Plan. This newly enhanced program was created as a direct result of the growing downtown area and the unique needs of the community. The Ambassador Program will provide a direct, on-the-street connection seven days a week from 7 a.m. - 11 p.m. to help meet these needs and further elevate the downtown experience for everyone, as the urban core continues to attract new businesses, residents and visitors.
Ambassadors will also serve as additional eyes and ears, working closely with the Orlando Police and Fire Departments and the Health Care Center for the Homeless HOPE Team to help provide enhanced public safety assistance and direct outreach. Additionally, the team will serve as an extension of the Downtown Clean Team to ensure downtown cleanliness. The team will be on foot and bikes to give them the ability to provide service and outreach in downtown where it is needed most.
Those seeking services offered by the Ambassadors can call or text 407.225.4632