SALT LAKE CITY – Whether you live, work, or visit downtown Salt Lake City, there is a team of friendly faces hitting the streets to point you in the right direction.
They’re called Downtown Ambassadors.
Downtown Alliance, Salt Lake City, and Visit Salt Lake launched the program Thursday.
“We've seen this in a lot of other cities where you have ambassadors to act as concierge for convention delegates, tourists—even just people who happen to be downtown looking for directions,” said Jason Mathis, executive director of Downtown Alliance.
Four ambassadors will patrol hotspots such as the Salt Lake City library, Rio Grande District, and City Creek Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. By spring, they’ll have a total of 12 ambassadors on the ground.
“This is another approach to bringing to the streets a level of service for those who live here and those who visit here and those who are experiencing homelessness,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski.
With extra eyes and ears on the street, they can connect the homeless and panhandlers with services.
“The difference is we're not enforcement. We're trying to approach it from a real compassion standpoint,” said Seth Cole, an ambassador team manager.
“These people are all highly trained," Mathis said. "They have degrees in social work. They're gonna be able to create that intervention on a street level."
From hospitality to public safety, Cole says ambassadors are ready to serve.
“If you see an Ambassador, come talk to us," Cole said. "If you need a helping hand, just let us know, that's what we're here for.”
Leaders are hoping the program really takes off so they can expand it to other neighborhoods.