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Rochester City Council to consider Monroe, Lyell Avenue neighborhood ambassador programs

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Rochester, New York – Plans for community ambassador programs in the Monroe Avenue and Lyell Avenue neighborhoods could be discussed by the City Council during its meeting on Tuesday.

“The city overall has been looking a way to kind of just engage in the neighborhoods and engage who I consider the experts — the people actually living through the opioid epidemic, homelessness, all sorts of other issues,” said Andy Carey, the co-founder of MC Collaborative, a private business that offers social work support to businesses.

The one-year trial scheme would be implemented on Monroe Avenue by MC Collaborative, and on Lyell Avenue by Cameron Community.

Through the New York State Opioid Settlement Fund, both organizations would receive $125,000 in settlement funds. Apart from tackling the opioid crisis, the money would be allocated for additional programs.

“The vast majority of it (the money) will be stipends for the volunteers on the streets — the actual ambassadors — and that’s really exciting, because it helps people build their income,” said Carey. “We literally will be able to have people work whatever is appropriate for them. If they work two, four hours — whatever. We’ll figure out the shifts with each person to see what works best for them, and then they’ll get paid that same day in cash.”

Building community support and relationships is another of the primary objectives, according to Carey.

“When we think about basics, we think about trash pickup, maybe shoveling, needle pickup, making sure if there’s Narcan boxes and those are full,” he explained. “We’re hoping that when people have grand openings, they can help out with making sure the area’s nice, meeting people, saying hi to people.”

Direct outreach to people who are homeless or experiencing other problems and have nowhere to go is another component.

“Say someone’s staying in your storefront, someone’s been sleeping on your stoop there or something, and they leave a lot of stuff or it’s just behind the business,” Carey said. “Rather than throwing out someone’s whole life, we probably know them, our ambassadors, will know that person, and we’ll be able to engage with them and help move to more appropriate housing — whether that’s a shelter or different areas — and work closely with those people. But also, just to have their stuff removed in a dignified way back to the person who owned it.”

In November, the city’s experimental neighborhood ambassador programs on North Clinton and Jefferson avenues were authorized overwhelmingly.

The City Council meets every Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. Every one of them is webcasted on the city’s YouTube channel.

 

 

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