About the SLC Downtown Ambassadors:
On this Sunday, Sam talked to us about the SLC Downtown Ambassadors program, which he has worked for and thus has seen its impact firsthand. This program has replaced / is replacing the police when it comes to interactions with the local communities of unsheltered people.
Originally created to respond to the concerns of area businesses, the Ambassadors maintain the goal of being a trauma-informed presence that can deescalates situations, helps get people to a safe place, addresses people's immediate needs [water, food, temperature, injury, needing someone to talk to, etc.], and makes sure people aren't arrested and put into the cycle of incarceration. The Ambassadors -- you may have seen them in their bright yellow shirts or jackets -- constantly walk the areas, and take time to build ongoing relationships with local folk, to the point where local unsheltered people now recognize them and know they are there to help.
While some people without housing are able to enter the local shelter system and gain access to the system's supply resources, there are many people the shelter system does not provide for in any way; it is this gap, the population of people who are unsheltered, that the Ambassadors are most directly working with. In the short time that the program has been active, Ambassadors have responded to over 5,000 calls (that otherwise would have gone to the police), given over 200 doses of life-saving Narcan, and provided countless supplies.
I encourage you to watch the recording to hear more information and stories from Sam's time working with the Ambassadors!
Video length: 43:30