AUSTIN, Texas - With people speaking out about safety concerns regarding the homeless population, the Downtown Austin Alliance is reminding everyone about an option they provide to help keep the public safe. It's called the Downtown Ambassadors Program.
"It's a little known service that we do, but, with all the town halls recently, we've decided to up our antes and send out a public service announcement that we're here to make sure individuals can travel safely from their vehicle to their place of business and back," said Matt Macioge, director of operations for the Downtown Austin Alliance.
So far this month, downtown ambassadors have provided 17 safety escorts in the district where they operate.
"The Downtown Public Improvement District encompasses southcentral waterfront, think the Hyatt, Yeti, Statesman, north along the river and then over to San Antonio and the feeder road and up to MLK," Macioge said.
Any day between 6am- 11pm, all it takes is a phone call to access a safety escort free of charge.
"When someone calls the phone number, we ask them to call 30 minutes to an hour in advance so that we can actually schedule someone to meet with them. We'll get in touch with them and let them know who the ambassador is going to be and where to meet them," said Macioge.
The program has been in place for the last three years. However, the DAA said following town hall meetings regarding ordinance changes affecting the homeless population, they realized it may be helpful to send out a reminder.
"What we heard from the population at the town hall meetings was that safety was one of their concerns," Macioge said.
"We want downtown to feel and be perceived as what it is, one of the top five safest cities in our country," he added.
To reach Downtown Ambassadors call 512-937-7422.
The South Congress Public Improvement District is planning on starting a similar safety escort service next week. That will be offered between 7am-3pm Monday-Friday.