Santa Barbara Public Library | Credit: Courtesy

With winter around the corner, the Santa Barbara City Council on Tuesday approved a $93,000 spending proposal to post a full-time social worker in the city’s downtown public library, a popular roosting place for those with no place else to go. 

The contract calls for a social worker employed by the Family Service Agency to “proactively engage homeless individuals” and provide them information about existing social services and get them signed into the computerized database shared by a host of government and nonprofit agencies dealing with people who are homeless. In addition, the social worker will be expected to respond to calls for assistance from nearby properties and business owners, perform “special assignments” such as homeless counts, observe and report criminal behavior, and work with Santa Barbara Police Department’s homeless outreach team. 

The actual work expected is budgeted to cost $84,665, but it’s customary to include a 10 percent cushion if needed. Of that money, $56,000 would go to the social worker in the form of salary and benefits. Of the remaining $29,000, $18,000 is slated to be spent on “direct” and “indirect” costs. The remaining funds — $10,000 — will be earmarked for the program director and the supervisor. 

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