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Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett makes changes to improve downtown safety, cleanliness

Posted at 12:09 PM, Jul 16, 2020

INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett has made changes to the city’s approach to public safety in the downtown area, he announced Thursday.

He said the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD), the Department of Public Works (DPW), the Office of Public Health and Safety (OPHS), and the Department of Metropolitan Development (DMD) are working together to improve downtown. The changes will be focused on cleanliness, homelessness, safety and resources for businesses.

“We are committed to increasing safety and livability throughout Marion County and tackling challenges that put individuals at risk,” Hogsett said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened existing stressors for many of our most vulnerable residents. At a time of necessary social distancing and strained public health resources, City departments have acted with creativity and compassion. We will continue to respond where there is need across our city and work to maintain downtown as the vibrant core Indianapolis deserves.”

Downtown cleanliness

Hogsett said the Pathway to Employment program has now resumed work in downtown. The program hires people who were panhandling to do beautification work in the city. There are plans to nearly double the number of participants who work in the program.

DPW will also increase its power washing efforts downtown, five days a week through Labor Day.

Homelessness

The Office of Public Health and Safety will hire a full-time position to work downtown to coordinate efforts between health care professionals, public safety officials and service providers to help people experiencing homelessness.

Indianapolis is also expanding its non-congregate housing project, which provides temporary housing in hotel rooms to people experiencing homelessness to promote social distancing, prevent the spread of COVID-19. The city also plans to increase resources to the IMPD Street Outreach Team.

Safety

The Department of Metropolitan Development will detail two off-duty IMPD officers to work overnight shifts at the canal downtown, after two homicides occurred there in the last month.

Business resources

The city is touting its small business and non-profit PPE reimbursement program, as well as the marketing campaign to attract Hoosiers to stay in Indianapolis hotels and use the city’s amenities.