People of Housing Security:
The City of Bloomington’s After Hours Ambassador helps connect people with resources
If you’ve spent any time in downtown Bloomington, you’ve probably seen – or even met – Charles Culp.
Charles is the City of Bloomington’s After Hours Ambassador, part of the Community & Family Resources department. He serves as a liaison between businesses and people who come downtown. He works until midnight during some of his shifts, with a key responsibility to promote safety. While on duty he covers the city between 1st to 10th streets and from Rogers to Indiana Avenue.
As part of his role, Charles assists people experiencing homelessness, helping them get connected to resources. When necessary, he has been integral in de-escalating tensions that sometimes arise downtown.
Things have come full circle for Charles. He says he used to be one of those college kids who hang out on Kirkwood.
An Indiana University alumnus, he studied education here. But after student teaching in Martinsville, he realized he wasn’t quite ready to start teaching full time. He signed up for AmeriCorps, a federal program that provides service workers to nonprofits. He was sent to southern Colorado to work at La Puente, a shelter with the mission to assist the homeless and under-served families and individuals in rural Colorado.
This opened his eyes to the disparities that plague migrant workers and rural America. The experience shaped Charles’s path into the field of nonprofit work. After completing his stint with AmeriCorps, Charles worked at a variety of nonprofits. He also taught middle school science and art for 2 years in Memphis before returning to Bloomington.
Charles has been After Hours Ambassador for about 18 months. Activity downtown is constantly changing, he notes, and he enjoys the chance to interact with different people each day. He’s able to establish relationships and build trust with the people he meets.
“If I say I’m going to do something, I need to do something.” – Charles Culp
Charles knows that in his current job, people count on him. “If I say I’m going to do something, I need to do something.” Accountability and integrity are important values for him, as is community collaboration.
Outside of work, Charles is a family man. He is married with two daughters who are 8 and 2 years old. When he isn’t working, he enjoys making meaningful memories with his family – like building a giant Lego village. In his free time, he enjoys reading and hiking.