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Press Release

HCSO Awarded $2.2 Million Dollars for FUSE Project

02/14/2020

The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office is proud to announce it has received a 2.2 million dollar federal grant dedicated to helping the mentally ill. We are one of only three communities nationwide to receive this funding from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Pay for Success Initiative. The goal of the program is to “lower recidivism and homelessness for those suffering mental illness… while improving public safety and saving tax payer dollars”

The Sheriff’s Office will use the funding to expand its FUSE (Frequent User Systems Engagement) pilot program. The program will serve “high utilizers” of the justice and healthcare systems who are mentally ill and homeless. Participants will receive housing subsidies combined with intensive treatment and services. Results from more than 30 FUSE communities nationwide show sharp declines in incarcerations and hospitalizations along with high rates of housing stability.

“People who are mentally ill and homeless sometimes become caught in an endless cycle of costly and avoidable incarcerations,” said Sheriff Jim Hammond. “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,” he further noted.

The FUSE pilot is scheduled to launch this summer, thanks to the commitment of a number of community partners: 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. Countless individuals have devoted time and expertise to laying the groundwork for implementation.

Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger upon learning of the grant stated, “This is another positive step in our ongoing effort to deal with the issue of mental health. I greatly appreciate the advocates in the sheriff’s office and our grants department for their relentless work to secure this grant. This provides us with the financial leverage to make some of our citizens’ lives better, which in turn makes us a better community.”

“Reducing the number of incarcerated individuals struggling with mental illness and homelessness in the Hamilton County community is of high importance to me,” said Rep. Chuck Fleischmann. “I thank the Department of Justice for awarding this much-needed grant and I look forward to seeing the Hamilton County Sheriff's office put these funds to action in our community." Representative Chuck Fleischmann said.

For more information contact the project director, Janna Jahn, at jannaj@hamiltonTN.gov.



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