GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — In the first two and a half months, Greensboro city leaders and Downtown Greensboro Inc. have seen early and promising success from the creation of the city’s Hospitality Team.
The concept has been four years in the making and consists of individuals who patrol downtown Greensboro to make the city more visitor-friendly and create a safer atmosphere,
The team of 11 individuals helps people who need directions. They also help take items from one place to another, walking people to their cars late at night and assisting business owners with unruly customers.
The ambassador program concept has been adapted in Charlotte and Raleigh, amongst other major cities in the country.
Greensboro started its program in early October as a way to reduce the amount of times Greensboro police have to respond to the Elm Street area for non-emergency calls.
“It’s saving Greensboro police time so they can focus on what they need to focus on and not something very minor,” explained Downtown Greensboro Inc. Director Zack Matheny.
Since it’s introduction in Greensboro, the ambassadors have assisted in:
Business Contact – 151
Business Request For Service – 32
Camping Presence Count – 178
Directions/Information Given – 254
Event Hospitality – 30
Hospitality Assistance – 540
Hotline Call – 12
Outreach Contact – 79
Panhandling – 120
Request for EMS / Fire Dept. – 4
Request for Safety Escort – 99
Scooter Violation – 158
The team uses an app to track the types of situations they are responding to or assisting with.
It also allows them to track the names of individuals who appear to cause trouble on a routine basis.
The ambassadors have also become heavily involved in assisting the homeless or others who are down on their luck who walk the streets of downtown Greensboro.
“We’ve been where some of them have been,” explained Greensboro Ambassador Bruno Marshall. “We can help get these people help in places that we know will be good for them.”
Early success stories include:
• Assisted in getting a gentlemen to a treatment center after being on the street for over a year
• Got two individuals a bus to Charlotte where they needed to go after camping on South Elm Street for several days
• Helped a person with a bus ticket back home to Queens, NY after being on the streets for 3 weeks
• Took an 18-year-old runaway who was camping in Center City Park for a week to an organization that provided her with shelter, food and counseling in Henderson, NC
• The team supplied a struggling person with information about the Salvation Army and Urban Ministry, enabling him to get shelter in the Weaver House and a job.
Greensboro police had said the additional eyes, ears and hands are extremely helpful to have. However, it will take more than two and a half months to measure just how successful the program is.
If you are in downtown Greensboro and need assistance from an ambassador, call (336) 447-9492.
The shifts of the ambassadors vary during events and weekends:
8:00 a.m – 7:45 p.m.
8:00 a.m. -10:45 p.m.
11:00 a.m. – 10:45 p.m.
11:00 a.m. – 7:45 p.m.