I hope this message finds you well. I am writing to share good news from yesterday's budget meeting.
As you might be aware, I launched the City's Parks Ambassador program during my career as a Manager in Parks, Forestry & Recreation. Started in 2003, Parks Ambassador staff work to foster good relationships with homeless and street involved individuals and establish effective communication between homeless communities and agencies and city divisions.
I am very pleased City Council voted to increase the Parks, Forestry and Recreation operating budget by $350,000 to better meet service needs in 2018 by adding one additional permanent, full time Parks Ambassador, plus three seasonal positions, and increasing all seasonal positions from six to nine months.
The need for more outreach staff is clear. In 2017, the Parks Ambassadors logged over 14,000 work actions and made over 700 referrals to Streets to Homes.
Additional staff will help to provide support to the downtown wards and continue to extend the Parks Ambassador services city-wide, where we know many vulnerable residents need our support.
I look forward to continuing to work with you. Please don't hesitate to contact my office if I can be of support to your agency.