The Atlantic City Boardwalk has undergone a massive transformation over the years. The wooden walkway now features live entertainment, upgraded lighting, security, retail and nightlife.
There is one little known project that quietly contributed to this Atlantic City public safety success story. It’s a community outreach program spearheaded by recently retired AC Police Officer; Billy Wenz. WATCH VIDEO BELOW.
At one time, close to 60 homeless were living under various parts of the boardwalk. Today, that number is down to zero thanks to the efforts of Wenz and a network of local volunteers and organizations through-out the city and county. All of the homeless were offered lodging, clothing, meals, counseling and assistance. Most accepted this help.
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Officer Wenz was recognized by the Mental Health Association. The award is in recognition for his work in providing street outreach to the homeless population in Atlantic City. His work has provided life-sustaining support and encouragement to the homeless community.
As an advocate, Officer Wenz has shown that offering services in a humane manner is often the critical first step in changing a person’s resistance to getting help and thereby set a new standard for community policing.
Criteria for the MHA Anchor Award:
- An exemplary contribution to creating change for people living with mental illness and addictions
- Working to increase community awareness of issues related to people living with mental illness and addictions
- Working toward dissolution of one or more barriers to people living with mental illness and/or addictions
- A significant advocacy effort benefiting people living with mental illness & addictions
- Being the voice of those who have difficulty or cannot represent themselves.