SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – One of the newest programs at the Santa Barbara Public Library is making great strides helping those in need.
Community Support Specialist, Mersy Lopez, has been part of Community Connections, a program funded by the Santa Barbara Public Library.
The program allows community members to receive assistance with a focus on housing, health, nutrition, employment, and education.
As an extension of FSA's Family Support Services team, Mersy works with families and individuals at the Eastside and Central Library Community Connections Centers.
She provides resources and referrals for basic needs, childcare and early education, job training, and housing.
Anyone who is a library patron has access to services.
"I love working with people, especially our vulnerable and underserved populations. Working at the library gives me the opportunity to reach those populations out in the community," said Mersy.
In the last eight months, 572 direct hours of service were delivered at the Eastside and Central Library Community Connections Centers.
Over 385 referrals to community services were made to adults and seniors.
"I have always wanted to give back to my community and this is my way of giving back. Also knowing that I made a difference in at least one individual motivates me," said Mersy.
As with many FSA programs, staff such as Mersy, participate in a variety of community partnerships that address homeless prevention.
These include Neighborhood Navigation Center, Homelessness Prevention and Housing Retention Working Group and the Entry Coordinated System via Street Outreach Program (HMIS).
Additionally, Mersy works collaboratively with the Santa Barbara Alliance for Community Transformation (SB ACT).
She also serves clients at the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission once a week assisting people with applications.
For information on FSA programs, please visit: https://fsacares.org/.