Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer embraced the subject of marriage equality and diversity Tuesday during a scheduled State of the City address. He was introduced to the crowd by President and Chief Executive Officer of Florida Hospital, Lars Houmann.
“Quality of life also means embracing diversity and inclusiveness,” Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said. “I am proud of our multi-cultural community and that we attract people from across the country and globe who want to seek opportunity and call Orlando home.”
Dyer touted the city’s domestic partnership registry as a success in diversifying the Sunshine State.
“The fabric of our city is a mix of ethnicities, cultures and religions. Diversity is our greatest strength. A vibrant, welcoming community attracts the kind of industries and talent our city needs,” he said. “That’s why we were one of the first cities in Florida to adopt a domestic partnership registry with more than 1200 couples registered. One day I hope we are the city that hosts the state’s first same-sex wedding.”
On the subject of art and leisure, Dyer listed the city’s creative institutions as a uniting factor for residents.
“Fourteen art galleries have opened since 2003 and just this year we launched our biggest public art project ever, adding iconic sculptures all over downtown through See Art Orlando. In the Semoran Boulevard corridor, we are working to enhance the aesthetics, improve traffic flow and grow businesses on of one of the main gateways to our City,” he said.
Theft was a hot topic as well.
“More than anything, superior quality of life means protecting our most important assets; our people,” Dyer said. “Our commitment to safety has also made the Orlando Fire Department one of the top departments in the entire country. This translates into real world benefits like the fact that you are more likely to survive a heart attack in Orlando than just about anywhere else because of our ability to respond to that type of emergency.”
Dyer said that a City Impact Team is partnering with service providers, the business community, faith leaders, non-profits, the Orlando Housing Authority, and the veteran’s administration to tackle homelessness.
“Working closely with the reenergized Central Florida Commission on Homelessness, we have studied what other cities have done to take homeless individuals off the streets and into permanent supportive housing. These approaches have one common focus: they recognize that many of the disabled and chronically homeless individuals will never get off the streets without community intervention and without a path to permanent housing with supportive services,” Dyer said.
Dyer then asked, “The question before us is, can we place one third of the chronically homeless individuals into safe housing in the next three years?”