Downtown Orlando ambassador program adds homeless outreach efforts
This week marks the start of Orlando’s new ambassador program working to address homelessness downtown.
More than 20 ambassadors received training on helping the homeless population.
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Since 2018 ambassadors have answered calls for safety escorts, reported incidents in the heart of the city, and helped visitors navigate downtown. But in January, Orlando commissioners voted to approve a $1.3 million dollar contract with a new provider, Allied Universal Protection Services.
Under the new contract, the 22 ambassadors patrolling the streets are part of the city’s solution to a growing homeless problem.
Read: Downtown Orlando ambassadors to address homelessness
“We now have an enhanced effort when it comes to homeless outreach,” said Kelly Allen, with Orlando’s Downtown Development Board and Community Redevelopment Agency.
Businesses said ambassadors serve as an alternative to contacting police when problems come up with the city’s homeless. According to the city, ambassadors are now trained to conduct surveys assessing risk and they can help get those experiencing homelessness into the pipeline for care.
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The new provider is also keeping data on the impact ambassadors are having, and they’ll be sharing that data with city commissioners directly.
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