WEST PALM BEACH DDA FUNDS ADDITIONAL SAFETY PATROLS AND PROGRAMS FOR DOWNTOWN WEST PALM BEACH
September 20th, 2023
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (September 20, 2023) – The West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority is launching a new effort to address community concerns about individuals struggling with homelessness and mental health on the streets of Downtown West Palm Beach. This six-month pilot project will redirect funding and staffing from the DDA’s Ambassador Program to increase the presence of special duty West Palm Beach police officers throughout Downtown.
“As the downtown core continues to grow, its’s important that we continue to provide an environment where our residents, workforce and visitors can feel comfortable,” said Raphael Clemente, executive director of the West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority. “At the same time, we recognize there are those in the community who may be going through challenges, and we want to also respect that. We’re hopeful this project will accomplish our goal of allowing downtown to be a vibrant center while showing compassion and finding solutions for those in need.”
Beginning on October 1, 2023, the number of hours funded for the Ambassador program will be reduced by approximately 50 percent. The remaining Ambassadors will be provided with additional training, and the program will be restructured to work more closely with West Palm Beach police in a coordinated effort to reduce crime and aggressive behavior. That funding will be redirected to increase special duty patrols by West Palm Beach Police with a focus on the most specific zones and times of criminal behavior. The City of West Palm Beach will provide additional funding to support the increased police patrols.
In addition to enhanced law enforcement presence, outreach to the homeless community will be increased in the downtown area. The outreach team will assist with complimentary solutions that address the homeless and at-risk homeless population to connect and provide information about existing services in the area. These strategies will help bridge the gap between people that need help and the agencies or programs that are available to them.
The DDA will also form a Safety Task Force for the Downtown area. The task force will be comprised of representative members from the community, including residential, business, property ownership interests, Housing and Community Development, Police, State Attorney’s Office, and Fire Rescue. The task force will provide feedback and advice to law enforcement, city leaders, the DDA, and the community.
“It’s vital that we invest in resources and programs that allow us to reach our great potential as the city of West Palm Beach continues to grow and welcome more visitors and businesses,” said City of West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James. “Through this partnership, we’re confident that we can ensure a safe environment for all stakeholders.”
For further information about these new programs, visit DowntownWPB.com or call (561) 833-8873.
About the West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority
The West Palm Beach DDA is an independent taxing district created in 1967 by a special act of the Florida Legislature. Its mission is to promote and enhance a safe, vibrant Downtown for our residents, businesses and visitors through the strategic development of economic, social and cultural opportunities.
For more information about the DDA or Downtown West Palm Beach, please visit DowntownWPB.com or call the DDA at (561) 833-8873.