The Justice and Mental Health Initiative

"My job is to get everybody in the same room as we confront mental illness. We make sure there is a better alternative for these people's lives than jail. I believe the savings, both in money and in people, will be incredible... I'd much rather build schools than jails." -Sheriff Jim Hammond

Housing Solutions for Frequent Users of Jails and Hospitals (FUSE)

The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office is joining with BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, CHI Memorial, the City of Chattanooga, the Chattanooga Housing Authority and select community partners to launch a two-year pilot for 50 people in Hamilton County who are homeless and mentally ill. The lack of stability in their lives causes them to cycle repeatedly through hospitals, jails, shelters and crisis centers at considerable cost to the community. They are called “frequent users.”

Using a proven approach called FUSE (Frequent Users Systems Engagement) we will show how frequent users can break the cycle and build healthy and productive lives in a residential environment at significantly less cost to the community. This program combines permanent housing with intensive support services, which research has shown to be a highly effective approach for some of our most vulnerable citizens.

More than 30 communities across the country have implemented FUSE. Independent studies typically show dramatic reductions in costly hospitalizations, emergency services, incarcerations and shelter use after people find a home and the support they need to build stability in their lives.

How to support FUSE

Tax deductible donations may be made by check or credit card to:
The Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga, Justice and Mental Health Fund
1270 Market Street
Chattanooga, TN 37402
Or to
The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office Justice and Mental Health Fund
600 Market Street
Chattanooga, TN 37402

Other Programs

Assertive Community Treatment Team

Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) is a multidisciplinary team approach with assertive outreach in the community. The consistent, caring, person-centered relationships have a positive effect upon outcomes and quality of life. Research shows that ACT reduces hospitalization, increases housing stability, and improves quality of life for people with the most severe symptoms of mental illness. ACT may also reduce staff burnout and increase job satisfaction, cost effectiveness, and client satisfaction.

ACT is an evidence-based practice that improves outcomes for people with severe mental illness who are most at-risk of psychiatric crisis and hospitalization and involvement in the criminal justice system. ACT is one of the oldest and most widely researched evidence-based practices in behavioral healthcare for people with severe mental illness.

Crisis Intervention Team Police Training

The Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) program is an innovative, proactive law enforcement-based approach to addressing issues surrounding the treatment of persons with mental health issues.

Read more about their crisis intervention curriculum.

Note: The following links will open to another government website or government-affiliated page in a new tab.