Funding to assist Hamilton Co. mental health initiative for inmates

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – Sheriff Jim Hammond has been asking for help in getting mentally ill inmates out of the county jail and into programs that can help them. Commissioners this morning approved a plan that begins that process.

The Hamilton County Commission voted to accept $25,000 dollars from Bluecross Blueshield, and another $25,000 from CHI Memorial.

That money would be in-addition to a budget amendment for $50,000 dollars for the county jail and $75,000 for Silverdale.

Right now many of the cells at the crowded downtown jail and at Silverdale are taken up by those with serious health issues.

Sheriff Jim Hammond had been asking for help in changing that.

District 1 Commissioner Randy Fairbanks said, “And so he has took it upon himself to go out and look at other counties and what they’ve done, and he’s put together a partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield and Memorial here and some people have all pitched in with him to create, uh, this, uh a program to handle this problem of mental health.”

Commissioners also voted to accept two grants from the department of health and human services to expand Homeless Health Care Services.

One was for $146,000, and the other for 48,000 dollars.  They will go to the Homeless Health Center.

Health Programs Manager Cindia Williams said, “When people have access to good mental health treatment, good medication, good alcohol and drug treatment, good physical care, uh, they’re better able to manage their own lives.”

Sheriff Hammond was out of the city today.

Tomorrow here on News 12 at 6, a closer look at the work of the Homeless Health Care center, and how that grant money will be used.

Categories: Local News

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