Hamilton County lands grant to treat mental health issues


CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office is one of three in the country to land a new grant from the Department of Justice.

If the County Commission approves, the Sheriff’s Office will get $2.2 million dollars.

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The Pay for Success Initiative aims to “lower recidivism and homelessness for those suffering mental illness… while improving public safety and saving tax payer dollars.

Hamilton County will use the money to expand the FUSE pilot program that kicks off this summer.

FUSE will provide housing subsidies, treatment and services to people who keep popping up in the criminal justice system and either have a mental illness or are homeless.

Sheriff Jim Hammond says they can get caught in an endless cycle of jail stints.

They are in and out of our jails, our emergency rooms, crisis centers, shelters and so on, over and over again.  It’s expensive and they only get worse.  This is a problem that has gone on far too long in our community.  I am proud of the community partners who have come together to tackle this challenge.

The FUSE pilot progam has partnered with BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, CHI Memorial HealthCare System, Hamilton County Government, the City of Chattanooga, Chattanooga Housing Authority, Erlanger Health System, Moccasin Bend Mental Health Institute, the State Department of Mental Health’s Creating Homes Initiative and the Peer Advisory Council.