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Revamped ambassador program designed to ease lives downtown

Bob Newman Ambassador Manager, center, and La Quentan McGuire, Ambassador Team Leader, assist people
Bob Newman, ambassador manager, center, and La Quentan McGuire, ambassador team leader, help people in downtown Burbank, Downtown Burbank has a new program featuring ambassadors who assist locals and tourists with local activities.
(James Carbone / Burbank Leader)

Helpers dressed in green shirts and lighter green high-visibility jackets roaming around downtown Burbank aren’t public works employees still celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.

They are members of the downtown district’s revamped ambassador program, which, since March 11, provides an extra set of eyes and ears to keep the city safe and clean.

Mary Hamzoian, economic development manager for Burbank, said the Downtown Burbank Property and Business Improvement District hired Streetplus, a company that provides ambassador services, for a year to address the homelessness and street-performer issues in the downtown area, as well as provide locals and tourists with information about local businesses.

The district is governed by the nonprofit the Downtown Burbank Partnership and was formed in 2003 as part of the city’s efforts to revitalize downtown Burbank.


There are at least three ambassadors patrolling the downtown area at various times for those looking for help, especially the homeless.

Members of Streetplus are trained to help the homeless and direct them toward appropriate services they might need, Hamzoian said.

When the city previously had ambassadors in the downtown area, they would call the nonprofit Ascencia whenever they needed assistance with those who were homeless, but the situations could take a day or two to be resolved.

“We really needed a program that focused on social services downtown, so that we can free up Ascencia to focus on the rest of the city,” Hamzoian said.


“Bringing in Streetplus allowed us to do that,” she added.

The ambassadors are also available on certain nights to walk employees who work for the city or downtown businesses to their vehicles late at night.

Also, Hamzoian said the ambassadors will make sure graffiti and trash are cleaned up to ensure a clean and safe area for local residents and those visiting the city.

Ambassadors are in the downtown area from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and from 2 to 11 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.

Twitter: @acocarpio