With a $72 million dollar gap to close in Santa Barbara County’s 2011-2012 budget, County Executive Chandra Wallar is making each department shave 15 percent from their individual spending plans. On the chopping block of the Treasurer Tax-Collector’s budget is the Representative Payee Trust Fund Program, a.k.a. Pro Pay.

Innocuous as it sounds, the possibility of Pro Pay disappearing has got social service providers and homeless advocates sounding the alarms.

Pro Pay is a county payee service. It receives government checks on behalf of people incapable of handling their finances—most often people with mental illness, a substance abuse problem, or both. Social Security and Social Security Disability checks, which are by nature small, go to Pro Pay instead of the individual, and then Pro Pay pays that person’s rent, medical insurance premiums, utilities, and other essential bills. To read more, see homelessinsb.org.


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