County Tries to Save 211

County supervisors agreed to spend $30,000 to update the seven-year-old hotline about human service agencies as the first step in an effort to rehabilitate 2-1-1 telephone service, which was started as a nationwide effort in 2000 by the Federal Communications Commission. Santa Barbara County’s Family Service Agency launched it in 2005, but now the Community Action Commission will handle it, although it’s still unknown where the $190,000 in annual operation costs will come from. Several cities are no longer interested in supporting it. Aside from Supervisor Peter Adam ​— ​who suggested the decline may be due to the rise of the Internet ​— ​the supervisors agreed that the directory desperately needed updating. Argued Supervisor Steve Lavagnino, “We spend half a billion dollars annually on social services. We need to spend [the $30,000] to let people know where to access the services.”

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