For more than two years a group of people pushed to create a social services coordinator job in Watertown, and Tuesday night they got the official OK from the Town Council.
The person will help Watertown residents find the services they need, whether provided by the town, state or other groups. The population the person will focus on are those who are out of school but who do not yet qualify for benefits available to those 60 and older.
The original proposal called for the coordinator to be hired and paid for by the Town, then they looked at having a contractor, but Councilors had problems with both proposals.
Recently there was a breakthrough, said Councilor Susan Falkoff, when at a meeting about the coordinator Town Auditor Tom Tracy suggested using money from the Watertown/Harvard Community Enrichment Fund to help pay for the position.
The Town Council approved $50,000 from the Watertown/Harvard funds to go to the position. The money will also be available next year. The person will be overseen by the Wayside Youth and Family Support Network. Funds from private sources will also help pay the coordinator's salary.
Councilors asked for the group to come back with a progress report in a year's time to see how the position is working.
The driving force behind the creation of the position has been the Human Services Committee, which includes people from a number of organizations in town, and led by Town Councilor Tony Palomba.
"To stick with us for two years is amazing, and it also speaks to the quality of the proposal which will benefit residents from 19 to 59," Palomba said.
He thanked the members of the working group for keeping him focused, and for Town Council President for guiding him through the process. He also thanked the groups that backed the proposal, including Watertown Savings Bank, Mount Auburn Hospital, the Helen Robinson Wright Fund, Perkins School for the Blind and the Watertown Community Foundation.